Monday, May 6, 2013

Northern Saw-whet Owl at the Idaho Botanical Gardens

Back in February the Idaho Botanical Gardens posted an image of a Northern Saw-whet Owl on their Facebook page. Apparently as they were removing Christmas lights from the trees the little owl didn't move, even as they worked within feet of where it was roosting. Of course such a hard-to-find owl in town in an easily accessible location got a lot of birders excited to try to find it. I actually took off from work a little early on Friday afternoon to go and see it before the gardens closed for the weekend.

When we arrived there was an employee of the gardens helping people find the bird. We were surprised at what a small tree the bird was roosting in! And the location was so close to the pathway, it was amazing that the owl felt comfortable roosting there for several days.

Approximate location of owl indicated in red circle. Idaho Botanical Gardens, Ada County. February 15, 2013.

We approached the owl slowly and quietly in hopes of disturbing it as little as possible. These owls are so good at hiding that even from a close distance they're still incredibly hard to spot.

Northern Saw-whet Owl at Idaho Botanical Gardens, Ada County. February 15, 2013.

After carefully looking around for a better vantage point we did manage to get a few clear views.

Northern Saw-whet Owl at Idaho Botanical Gardens, Ada County. February 15, 2013.

It was a good thing we managed to find the owl on Friday afternoon, since the gardens close early in the winter evenings, and are closed on the weekend as well. Nobody was able to find it again on Tuesday when the gardens opened again.

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