Gary Bogue



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Saw-whet owl with babies in a nest box

Saw-whet owl in nest box, surrounded by dead mice caught by her mate for feeding her babies. Babies are keeping warm under the adult owl’s warm feathers. Photo by John Ratcliffe, Brentwood, CA
1saw-whet2 john ratcliffe brentwood

Gary:
I was invited on a bird-banding for wood ducks and saw-whet owls earlier this year.  I got a kick out of the number of mice/rodents that were delivered to this owl’s nest.
John Ratcliffe, Brentwood, California

John:
It was nice of somebody to put up the wooden nest box this little owl is using. Saw-whets, barn owls and other owls like to use man-made nest boxes. It’s not always easy to find hollows or old woodpecker holes in trees.

Saw-whet owls may only be 8-inches tall, but they are one of the most aggressive little hunters in the bird world. From the way this owl (probably the female) is puffed up and her body is spread out, I suspect she’s keeping 4-6 babies warm under her feathers. All those fresh, dead mice lying around her were brought by her mate so she can feed her hungry chicks.

There used to be some saw-whet owl nests in the trees around San Pablo Reservoir near Orinda. Maybe there still are. /Gary

Saw-whet owl in nest box, surrounded by dead mice caught by her mate for feeding her babies. Babies are keeping warm under the adult owl’s warm feathers. Photo by John Ratcliffe, Brentwood, CA
1saw-whet john ratcliffe brentwood

Posted by on October 24, 2011.

Categories: Owls, Saw-whet owl

One Response

  1. What a treat! Thank you. Rare to see something like this.

    by kaaren Smith on Oct 28, 2011 at 12:56 pm

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About Gary Bogue

My name’s Gary Bogue. Animals have always been a big part of my life. From the spiders I collected as a preschooler, to the boa constrictor my parents gave me one Christmas when I was in high school, to the orphaned mountain lions, eagles, otters, hummingbirds, bears, and other wild creatures I helped raise and [...]more →