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This adorable photo of a juvenile Northern Saw-whet Owl was taken on 6/12 by Becca Foli near Indian Point (Birding Site #6). It is one of the smallest owls in North America. They are rarely seen because they are nocturnal and found in dense conifers or mixed forests. Male and females Saw-whets cannot be differentiated by plumage but the female is slightly larger than the male. Male Saw-whet Owls can be heard from January through May calling a high-pitched too-too-too for hours without stopping. If the female is interested in the male, she may call back to him. The nest site is usually 15-60 ft. above the ground in a cavity of a tree made by Northern Flickers or Pileated Woodpeckers. The male brings the female food while she is incubating the eggs (usually 4-7 eggs).  Their main food source is mice. Chicks leave the nest when they are 4 to 5 weeks old but the male parent continues to feed them for at least another month. Some of these little owls spend the winter on the island while others may migrate south. 

Juvenile Northern Saw-whet Owl near Indian Point on Beaver Island. Photo by Becca Foli

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