Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus)
Washington, United States
A tiny saw-whet owl uses blending camouflage to hide among a profusion of muted pussy-willow blossoms. Weighing only 75 to 110 grams (2.6 to 3.9 ounces), or about as much as a robin, the saw-whet owl is one of the smallest owl species in North America. Few people ever see these diminutive raptors because they are primarily nocturnal. During the day, they roost in foliage close to the ground hidden by their cryptic plumage, a mottled brown with white streaks and spots. To enhance the effect, saw-whet owls also use procryptic posturing for concealment: they elongate their bodies to mimic inanimate tree branches, bringing one wing around in front of their bodies to conceal their heavily feathered legs and feet. Northern saw-whet owls inhabit both coniferous and deciduous forests, wherever woodpeckers create cavities for their potential nest sites. At night, the owls silently watch and wait, using their exceptional vision and hearing to swoop down on unsuspecting prey.
Canon EOS-1N, Canon EF 80–200 mm lens with Canon Extender EF 1.4, f/11 at 1/60 second, Fujichrome Velvia 100 film
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