The temperature has fallen to 20 degrees F and we have an inch of hard packed snow on the ground, but the Northern Saw-whet Owl is singing in the swamp tonight. Spring can’t be too far off.
Aegolius acadicus is the smallest owl; the males are about the size of a robin and the females only slightly larger. They perch close to the ground to hunt and we see them fairly often near their nest trees in the conifer swamp. At night the males are remarkable for having the most annoying call of any bird (I’m including black-winged gulls here). They sound like a distant car alarm, or maybe a UPS truck backing up. All night long.
The picture above, and the wave file are from Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which is sadly subscription only now. The photo below, of a saw-whet owlet, was unaccredited but too cute to pass up. They must be tiny!