Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 04/30/2015

Photo taken on January 14, 2015

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front view
Fish Creek Park
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piercing eyes
Northern Pygmy-owl
Glaucidium gnoma
bird of prey
© Anne Elliott 2015

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Northern Pygmy-owl from January

Northern Pygmy-owl from January
On 14 January 2015, I called in at Fish Creek Park for some fresh air and, hopefully, find a friend or two. I was lucky with both. People had already found one of the little owls. Somehow, everyone seemed able to manoeuvre their tripods and enormous lenses each time the owl moved to a different branch or a new tree. I love my easy little point-and-shoot : ) Some of my photos were taken at Focal Length (35mm format) - 1200 mm, so the owl looks closer than it really was. We were all treated to some good views, and it was fascinating to watch the owl get ready to fly down to the snow-covered ground when it saw some movement. It goes through some interesting body behaviour in the seconds before that rapid dive. I can't remember if it did actually dive down this time.

I was impressed that all the photographers were very respectful of this tiny owl. Some of its time was spent perched extremely high in tall trees. Usually, it was just about within my camera reach and we were all lucky enough to see it perched in a variety of places, including some closer views. Any very close photos that are on my photostream, taken on various days, were taken when the owl unexpectedly flew right to where people were standing, seemingly without any stress. You would think that the owls would move away to a different area if they were bothered by the presence of people. Instead, they seem very tolerant, and continue to hunt, stash food (Meadow Voles) and even mate when people are present.

"The Northern Pygmy-Owl may be tiny, but it’s a ferocious hunter with a taste for songbirds. These owls are mostly dark brown and white, with long tails, smoothly rounded heads, and piercing yellow eyes. They hunt during the day by sitting quietly and surprising their prey. As a defensive measure, songbirds often gather to mob sitting owls until they fly away. Mobbing songbirds can help you find these unobtrusive owls, as can listening for their call, a high-pitched series of toots." From AllAboutBirds.