Northern Pigmy Owl In A Bush On The Side Of the Road In Estes Park


One of my friends, Gayl, had a “new knee” put in last summer and hasn’t been able to take her little dog for much of a walk lately. Well, I love to walk so Abby and I have become fast friends!

Yesterday on one of our walks I saw a little bird in a bush right off the sidewalk  where Wonderview and Elkhorn Avenues intersect. The closer I got, I realized that it was a small owl. I quickly called Phil and he came right down. He’s always loved to photograph birds and he thought it was a Pygmy-Owl. Gayl is an artist and loves to paint and sketch owls so Phil went back to get her. She would just love this opportunity to see an owl so close. What a treat!

The little owl just sat there and posed for us for about 15 minutes. When we got home, Gayl got out her newer book on Small Owls and we saw that indeed it was a Northern Pigmy-Owl. They are appropriately named because they are the smallest owl, only about 7″ long and weighing 3.5 oz. It is interesting that it frequently catches prey that outweighs it.

The Pygmy-Owl is able to guard itself from predators because it has “false eyes” on the back of its head that stare blankly at you. These eyes scare larger birds away because they are less likely to attack a bird that is looking in their direction. Thus the Pygmy-Owl “guards” its own back.

The Pygmy-Owls typically nest in abandoned woodpecker nests and natural tree hallows. They usually feed between dusk and dawn, eating small rodents, large insects, small birds, reptiles and amphibians.

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