About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Northern saw-whet owl call

Photo by Kameron Perensovich
If you live near an older wooded lot within the Northern Saw-whet Owl’s breeding range (across southern Canada, Michigan and the northern and western United States, extending through central Mexico) listen for a sharp, high, repeated too-too-too call on quiet nights.

Males start giving their mating call as early as late January and continue until May. When a female hears a male calling she responds with a high-pitched tssst call or a series of whistles. The male circles her about 20 times in flight before landing beside her and presenting a prey item. Some year-round resident males or pairs probably maintain territories throughout the year, but each year they pair up with new mates.

Northern saw-whet owls are the smallest owls in eastern North America at about 8 inches long. Males weigh the same as an American robin and females weigh just a little more. They eat mostly small mammals, hunting them at night from a low perch along the forest edge. The most common prey are mice, shrews, voles, and juveniles of larger mammals like chipmunks and squirrels.

The Northern Saw-Whet Owl's common name comes from the "skiew" call it makes when it is alarmed. This call is said to sound like a saw being sharpened on a whetting stone.

Related Articles:
- Fun Facts on Owls http://bit.ly/t6elFd
- Amazing Vocals of the Barred Owl http://bit.ly/sguMqL
- Do Bluebirds Cough Up Pellets Similar to Owls? http://bit.ly/t3Gu0D
- Screech owl in the neighborhood http://bit.ly/tlzaoN 
- How to spot owls more easily http://goo.gl/oq8iCA

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