So tiny, no bigger than a sparrow, the elf owl flees other owls who would eat it in one bite. It’s big round eyes remind me of Harry Potter glasses. I’d like to see one one day but not in my backyard. My cat doesn’t understand why I prefer she sticks with catfood and not dine on local birds.
elf owl flying nights
wee bird hiding in cactus
come north when buds bloom
The dimunitive elf owl, lightest of the owls weighing an average of 1.4oz (40grams), nests in the Saguaro cacti after the woodpecker leaves its hole or in hardwoods like cottonwoods, oaks, sycamores and other hardwoods. It’s high nest helps to avoid predators like other owls, snakes, bobcats, coyotes and ringtails. No idiot, it flies to Southern Mexico for the winter as insects are more plentiful in warm weather and is known to play dead when threatened or captured. Nonagressive by nature, it prefers flight to fight faced even with a dubious threat.
The elf owls generally lay only three eggs each season and populations are dwindling due to habitat loss. Still not uncommon in Arizona, at one point California thought they only had 10 pairs so that state declared them endangered back in 1980. Texas has seen a sizeable drop as well.
Elf owls like to munch on scorpions and insects. They are nocturnal, see well at night and have excellent hearing which helps them to pinpoint an insect even before they see them. Being only about five inches tall, with a wingspan of maybe nine inches, they rarely dine on small snakes or rodents.
Elf Owl Fact Sheet, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Owls, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Elf Owl, Saguaro National Park, Arizona, National Park Service
Cached by google: Elf Owl – Introduction, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Site didn’t come up when I viewed it so viewed it by cache. Has a little audio where you can hear the elf owl call. Pretty cool.
Photograph: Elf Owl, Saguaro National Park, Arizona, National Park Service
|https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5MbKpNi3oY||Youtube video by Chris Heising|
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