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
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