Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owls are very common in Manitoba in the breeding season but birders do not usually see a lot of them in migration, unless, that is, you visit a banding station like Delta, where large numbers of migrating Saw-whets are banded every year. So, when one showed up in a friend’s yard, I made the trip across Winnipeg to snap some photos. Here are two portraits of this owl as they are waking up at dusk, having moved from the denser branches where they roosted out onto a more open perch.

Once on the open perch, with a bit more space, the owl began stretching their wings before taking off. This is a typical action that I have seen many species of owls, large and small do - stretching the wing downward at full extension while tensing the body and pushing upward... a good pre-flight work out for the flight muscles!


  1. Fantastic Blog Cristian, all the owl info & images are superb! Here in the UK we only have 5 different species, Long Eared, Short Eared, Tawny, Barn and the best of the lot, the Little Owl! How many species do you have? I will become an avid follower and hope to improve my knowledge of the owls in north America.......Well Done!
    Paul Riddle -

  2. Hi Paul,

    Thanx so much for stopping by!! I live in Manitoba, Canada where we have the great privilege of living alongside the following 12 species of owls:

    Eastern Screech-Owl (resident – southern Manitoba, riparian deciduous forest)
    Great Horned Owl (resident – throughout – all woodlands types)
    Snowy Owl (winter visitor to open country areas)
    Great Gray Owl or Great Grey Owl if you prefer (resident – throughout boreal biome)
    Barred Owl (resident – southern boreal and parkland transition)
    Northern Saw-whet Owl (breeding visitor – parkland, southern boreal transition)
    Boreal Owl or Tengmalm’s Owl if you prefer (resident – throughout boreal biome)
    Northern Hawk Owl (resident – throughout boreal biome)
    Burrowing Owl (breeding visitor – native prairie and grassland of southwestern Manitoba)
    Short-eared Owl (breeding visitor – marshes, open country, tundra)
    Long-eared Owl (breeding visitor – parkland, southern boreal transition)
    Barn Owl (vagrant)

    Btw, love your blog!! Christian

  3. Nice photos ...
    nice blog..

    every bird lover can enjoy your blog...

    from dandeli jungle resort

  4. Hi there. Great pictures of the Northern Saw-Whet Owl. I was very interested in learning that their are Saw-Whet Owls over in the Winnipeg area. I live in Toronto, Ontario, and this past Friday, my wife and I came upon an adult Saw-Whet Owl out in the bush. This was the first time as birders that we had ever seen a Saw-Whet Owl. Fortunately, we had our camera with us and got some good pictures and video. We have posted them for anyone interested at:


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