Feb 26, 2018

Northern Pygmy Owls

This image was a BC Ferries Wildlife Finalist in their 2018 contest. If you would like a print please contact me Kristina Hockley

Hoot has continued to return to its favorite aspen perch but this year showed up with a friend!

Northern Pygmy-Owls are monogamous, at least within one year's breeding season. Males attract females to their nest site by perching at the entrance and giving a tooting call. Only the female incubates, while the male hunts and brings food back to the female and the nestlings.

This collage art is printed and is on display in The Wooden Spoon in Grand Forks, BC
Boundary Landscapes & Owl $1,121(click here for more info on this piece)

Despite this bird's broad geographic distribution in western North America, it is one of the least studied owls on the continent. Its habitats range from deciduous bottomlands to high-elevation coniferous forests. They also live in cottonwood, aspen, and mixed-conifer forests. Their home range is up to 185 acres or 75 hectares and our ranch, Whistling Kettle is 214 acres.

Listen to the primary hoot and chitter calls of a Northern Pygmy owl.

These owls employ a 'perch and pounce' hunting tactic.They mostly eat small birds, such as hummingbirds, chickadees, warblers, and sparrows, as well as small mammals, including shrews, moles, and chipmunks. However, they occasionally attack prey much larger than themselves, such as Northern Bobwhite and California Quail. They also eat insects such as beetles, butterflies, crickets, and dragonflies, as well as reptiles such as lizards and skinks.

Barred Owl
Douglas and Grey Squirrel may predate on eggs and chicks


Northern Pygmy-Owls nest in holes in trees. They lay their eggs in the debris at the bottom of tree cavities, where there may be wood chips, decomposing leaves, or nests of other birds. Sometimes they add linings such as feathers, strips of cedar bark, and moss. Breeding birds begin to defend nest cavities and territories as early as late February. Breeding begins at one year of age, birds breed every year. The owls are rarely seen during the breeding season.


Clutch Size:2-7 eggs
Egg Length:1.0-1.3 in (2.5-3.2 cm)
Egg Width:0.9-1.0 in (2.2-2.5 cm)
Egg Description:White and glossy.
Condition at Hatching:
Covered in white down, with eyes closed.

The Northern Pygmy-Owl hunts mostly by day. They fly in an undulating pattern of rapid wing beats interrupted by closed-wing glides, similar to woodpeckers. The main predators of Northern Pygmy-Owls are larger owls and raptors as well as some mammals such as weasels. Small birds such as nuthatches, robins, crossbills, wrens, creepers, hummingbirds, blackbirds, warblers, and jays frequently mob Northern Pygmy-Owls as they do other raptors—this behavior seems particularly bold considering small birds are what pygmy-owls eat. Some people have suggested that the eyespots on the back of the Northern Pygmy-Owl’s neck help deter mobbing birds.


Phoo Chan has some fantastic shots of Northern Pygmy feeding from the San Mateo area

This article from the High Country News - Oregon has photos of a hand holding a Pygmy owl to illustrate its size or lack thereof. as well if you scroll to the next image you will see tiny owlets in a nest.

Feb 20, 2018

Wintertime in the Boundary Region

Granby Riverside - dawn in the cottonwoods 2018
Granby River - dawn 2018
Volcanic Brown's Cabin - over 100 years old