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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Saw Whet Owl Discovered in Maple Leaf Neighborhood

Saw Whet Owl
Photo credit-Simone Lupson-Cook

This story originally published in Maple Leaf Life
Oct 12th

By amazing coincidence, Simone Lupson-Cook was living in the immediate neighborhood where the little owl decided to stop to rest. Simone is a volunteer at Sarvey Wildlife in Arlington and an experienced raptor specialist. Reportedly, the little owl has been recovering nicely at the rescue shelter.

Tiny owl rescued in Maple Leaf

Editor’s note: This post and photo are by Simone Lupson-Cook, a neighborhood resident and falconer who also posts at WingTrip.
Sunday night in the spitting rain a neighbor knocked on the door and said
he had found a baby owl in the street. I knew immediately it wouldn’t be
a baby as breeding season for owls has long since passed but wondered…
would it even really be an owl?
It seemed unusual for an owl to be in our neighborhood, although we did
have a Barred Owl in the backyard earlier in the year. Out the door I went,
wearing an owl shirt (not planned, mind you). There in the headlights of
the neighbor’s friend’s car sat a Northern Saw-whet Owl.
Saw-whet Owls are one of our smallest owls (around 100 grams) so it was
no surprise my neighbor and his friends thought it was a baby. I had the
friends distract the small owl while I snuck up and plucked him out of
harm’s way.
He was weak and one eye was closed more than the other, but he had enough
left in him to put eight talons in my hand during the transfer into a nice, comfy
box with towels. He also snapped his beak at me repeatedly, an owl’s way
of telling potential predators to back off.
I volunteer at Sarvey Wildlife in Arlington ( and we
were soon off for some much needed fluids and pain meds for the owl. He
has a bruised ear but other than that should be fine and able to be released.
What, you may ask, is a small, usually secretive owl doing in the middle of
the road in Maple Leaf? Most likely this owl was on migration and does
not live in the area. He may have become weak during the journey or
decided to look for prey too close to the road.
Saw-whet Owls mostly feed on small rodents,
especially deer mice. I am not a rodent expert
but I would say mice are scarce in a neighborhood
like Maple Leaf. (Someone please correct me if
I’m wrong; rats are another story all together!)
Some Northern Saw-whet Owls are residents, while others migrate, either latitudinally or altitudinally. Recent studies suggest that more migrate than had been previously thought. In Washington, birds from Canada and mountainous areas winter in Washington’s lowlands.
If you happen to find an injured bird or
animal in the Seattle area, Sarvey is a good
option as a rescue center. You can find
locations for drop-off points on their website.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating! I've never seen one of these. Thanks for sharing this story about this darling little owl.

    Last week, my son and his friend told me there was an owl outside. I thought they were kidding, but, no! There was a large owl in front of my house sitting on a power line, next to the light pole. We watched it fly towards the west. What a sight!

    I don't know what kind of owl it was. It was dark enough that I couldn't get a good enough look at the details of its feathers.