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Northern Pygmy Owl

Northern Pygmy Owl
Photo Information
Copyright: Tim Epp (BillyGoat) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 257 W: 28 N: 899] (4827)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-03-04
Categories: Birds
Camera: OLYMPUS E-500, Zuiko Digital 14-54 f/2.8-3.5
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/800 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2007-03-05 21:02
Viewed: 3191
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I ran across this cute little fella yesterday on one of my walks. Unfortunately I only had my 14-54mm lens with me, but he was kind enough to let me get within about 10 feet of him.

Taken from the "owlpages.com":

The Northern Pygmy Owl is a tiny, woodland, diurnal Owl that is most active between dawn and dusk. They have greyish or brownish or reddish (3 morphs) upperparts and light belly that is boldly streaked with brown. The head and nape are liberally sprinkled with whitish dots (more cinnamon or buff on red morph). On the nape are 2 distinctive, vertical black patches that resemble an extra pair of eyes. The relatively long tail is distinctly barred with 6 to 7 light stripes. Eyes are yellow, bill is yellowish-horn, and the toes are greyish-yellow.
Juveniles are similar to adults but with unspotted and greyer heads, and fluffy plumage.

Hunting & Food:
Northern Pygmy Owls are "sit and wait" predators, that hunt mainly by vision, diving down onto prey on the ground and driving the talons into the prey's throat. they will also attack birds in shrubs, crashing into the hapless victims. Most prey is carried off in the feet to feeding sites. Birds are usually plucked before being consumed. They often eat only the brains of birds and the soft abdomen of insects! One of these little owls can carry prey weighing up to 3 times its own weight.
The Northern Pygmy Owl feeds on a wide range of small prey including small mammals, birds, and reptiles and amphibians. Voles make up the bulk of their diet, with birds comprising most of the rest (mainly songbirds, but as large as a California Quail). Other small mammals include shrews, mice, chipmunks, bats, moles, young rabbits, and weasels. Insects may be very important when they are most abundant. Other prey taken are toads, frogs and small lizards and snakes.

During winter, surplus prey is cached in a cavity, often in large quantities. These caches help small owls like these meet their metabolic needs during very cold winter periods. Summer caches are usually much smaller.

Average Length Female: 18.5 cm (7.3"), male: 16.5 cm (6.5")
Average Wingspan 38 cm (15")
Average Weight Female 73 g (2.6 oz), Male 62 g (2.2 oz).

bobair, Adanac, GLEM, Finland_in_Eton, jaycee, jeanpaul has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To claudine: bird picturesBillyGoat 2 03-05 23:57
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Tim,
you have an excellent capture here despite not having the lens you would of preferred to use.The only thing that could better is if the light was more on the front of this little one as it is hard to see some detail.Getting to within ten feet of any raptor is quite the feat by the way,well done Tim. Bob.

  • Great 
  • GLEM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 540 W: 87 N: 750] (10)
  • [2007-03-06 3:01]

Hi Tim,
très bon cliché avec cet objectif, le cadrage est excellent et permet de bien l'admirer. Bel exploit d'avoir approcher si près, bravo.


Beautiful composition and detail ! The scattering of clouds in that blue sky adds interest. How fortunate that it let you get so close. Lovely job ! TFS

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2007-03-06 7:18]

Hi Tim,
Wow, nice experience I bet, This great composition is very well detailed and colored. I'm so happy he was patient enough to let you so close, thanks Tim.

This is a wonderful capture Tim,
It is your first bird's picture (ran through a part of your gallery and I didn't see another one)? I love this lightning, composition, exposure, details and great contact. A unique encounter! Thanks,

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-03-06 11:03]

Hi Tim,

I only saw this owl once in Colorado. Wonderful capture of a hard to get subject. Looks so nice against the blue sky.


Salut Tim
Excellente composition de couleurs. Bravo pour le regard et la beautée de l'oiseau et ce beau ciel bleu.

Merci et au revoir...JP

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-03-06 22:29]

Hello Tim

How fortuitous, very nicely composed and with very good detail and nice natural colour saturation.The BG sky is really nice.TFS


Hi Tim

It's wonderfull too see a bird like this! I like soo much his eyes!!


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