Last Friday a friend from Ely called us and said she had a Saw-whet Owl in her backyard. Drew Brockett and I of course went right over there to check it out. When we got there it was perched on her back fence in some shrubs, alert and hunting. There was a bird feeder in the yard and a garage, both of which apparently had some mice and/or voles as visitors. The Saw-whet is Minnesota's smallest and undoubtedly cutest owl. They usually arrive in Ely starting in late February/early March, set up a territory, raise their young and leave in the late fall. A few overwinter in northern Minnesota so this one could be a winter resident or an early migrant. Another friend told us she has had a Saw-whet singing in her neighborhood so maybe spring is on the way!
Who knows? Is this the same Saw-whet owl that we saw perched on a chair of the Northern Ground's deck late last fall? He was taking refuge from the wind and perhaps he opted to head across town instead of taking a longer trip South?
After we posted this on our email newsletter a reader sent us in two great follow-up photos. It is really fun to be connected like this with things that interest us. Of note, yesterday there were some birders in town who had taken a road trip to see what they could see. Thanks for reading and as always, we welcome your comments.
"Our family spent a night this past fall near Stevens Point, WI, banding Saw Whet Owls." M. Kohlman