- The Northern Saw-whet Owl is a very small, short-bodied, Owl with a relatively short tail. The overly large head has no ear tufts and may appear distorted due to an asymmetrical skull. They look small when perched and tend to shuffle their feet, but in flight appear larger because of their broad wings
- These Owls hunt mainly at dusk and dawn and most often use the “sit and wait” tactic to drop down onto prey on the ground from low hunting perches. When prey is plentiful, a Saw-whet Owl will kill as many as 6 mice in rapid succession, without consuming any of them. The excess food is cached in safe places and, in winter, is thawed out later by “brooding” the frozen carcass. When food is plentiful, it is common for only the head of each prey to be eaten.
- Northern Saw-whet Owls feed almost entirely on small mammals, Deer mice being the primary prey, followed by shrews and voles.
- Captive Owls have lived for 8 years, but mortality in the wild is likely relatively high. They compete with Boreal Owls, starlings, and squirrels for nest cavities, and are preyed upon by larger Owls, martens, Cooper’s Hawks, and Northern Goshawks.