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Wild Saw-Whet Owl visits school in Maine

 
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owlboy
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Joined: 19 Mar 2006
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Location: Albany, NY, USA

PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 2:18 pm    Post subject: Wild Saw-Whet Owl visits school in Maine Reply with quote

This story and pictures were provide to me by Judi in Bangor Maine. She is a school teacher and an avid photographer:

Quote:
I usually take pictures of people, but I had an interest experience this morning. I'm a teacher and I was working in my classroom this morning when 3 of my students came running in and said, "Mrs. Morrison, you've got to come take pictures of the owl. Thinking they were joking, I said, "What owl?" and they said "The one that's in front of the school. Apparently an owl flew into the side of the school this morning and was stunned. He sat on the lawn until he realized "What have I done? There are 500 teenagers staring at me". Then he flew into the underbrush a few feet away. Here are some of the pics I took:






Moderator note: For those photographers in the group, the pictures were taken with a Canon 40D with a Tamron 70-230 and 28-135. I think it is safe to say that the Saw-Whet migration has started. It is a little odd that the Saw-Whet was flying during the day. I suppose it is possible that one of the kids might have spooked it, and it fly off into a window. In any event, the owl is Ok, and it turned into a nice educational event for the school. An interesting note for those kids reading this, during the Saw-Whet migration (Oct 1 thru Nov 15), 50+ Saw-Whets probably fly past their house at night while they are sleeping. Saw-Whet Owls, Short-Eared Owls and Long-Eared Owls migrate from Canada to the Central part of the United States for the Winter. Most owls are only active at night, so this is why so few people see them.
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Mikey



Joined: 16 Aug 2007
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Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, that's so neat! Very Happy
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theowlette
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Joined: 02 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What an awesome experience! I have always done owl units in school (working it into the curriculum in any way I can), but this looks like a great teachable moment!

That poor owl... can I assume everything worked out okay for him?
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raptortrnr



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
Posts: 179

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 11:12 am    Post subject: awwwww Reply with quote

I may die of cuteness overload here!
That is a BEAUTIFUL example of a saw-whet, you were very lucky to get such great pictures.
Saw-whets are crepuscular and it looks pretty light out, no wonder she flew into a wall.
(side note: I'm amused right now that my spell check doesn't recognize crepuscular) Very Happy
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owlboy
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very cute for sure! Saw-Whets always look cute, and they are great Educational Owls. They like to just sit there and look cute all day long.

It is my understanding that Saw-Whets are Nocturnal. We only get Saw-Whets passing thru during their migration, so we only see them twice a year, and only if we are lucky. So, I do not have enough direct experience to say if they might also be crepuscular also.

Most owls see very well in the daytime, and some can actually see better then humans. Most owls have a large range of adjustability of light, so they can see well in the daytime and nighttime. I am not aware of daytime blindness of Saw-Whets. I had presumed that the Saw-Whet had panicked and starting flying before looking. And, hence the crash into the wall. Afterall, he was in a school yard of screaming kids. Most Saw-Whets will not fly away when a human gets close. They presume that you cannot see them. In many cases you can get within inches of them. But, if one of the kids ran into the bush, this would make it panick and fly away.
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raptortrnr



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your right, they are nocturnal, (Not sure what i was thinking) I had them confused. They are completely nocturnal though, I read they were one of the few owls that are completely nocturnal.
From what I've personally seen, though they can fly during the day, they seem to have more of a physical response (squinted eyes, looking away from light sources) then the larger owls which adapt much easier to a diurnal lifestyle in captivity.
Have you experienced different?
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owlboy
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My direct experience with them in the wild is limited because we only see them in April and October (+- couple months). During the day we find them in bushes or conifer trees. I have seen some in captivity, but light didn't see to be an issue. I suppose it could depend upon age also. Saw-Whets in the wild have a short life span. But, your observation is very interesting.

Another note of interest about Saw-Whets. In past years, we had heard of reports of Saw-Whets diverting from valleys to fly directly over mountain ranges. Specifically, the Adirondack Mountains. Last year I was able to confirm that they were also doing the same thing with the Catskill Mountain range. The Catskill Mountains are very rugged and steep, so we were not sure they were flying over them. But, sure enough, we found some just below an escarpment of North Mountain in a conifer grove. This area is generally devoid of owls.
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owlboy
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One other note: Cats and dogs are also crepuscular in the wild, but when domesticated, they adapt well to becoming diurnal. Last year National Geographics also showed that Short-Eared Owls will adapt to diurnal when prey is not available at dusk and dawn (they are crepuscular). This behavior of SEO is only seen on the Galapagos Islands. A fitting place for an example of adaptation. It is interesting that Saw-Whets adapt so easily in captivity.
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raptortrnr



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 6:18 am    Post subject: diurnal Reply with quote

Thats very interesting about the SEO. I would love to see that video.
Some owls in captivity seem to adapt better than others to a diurnal lifestyle. GHO, which are one of the most common in captivity, adapt quite well.
One of the bared owls I worked with wasn't so fond of his diurnal lifestyle. Through squinty half asleep eyes he would make his unhappy snapping sounds at me when I came in to clean his mew in the morning.
It was kinda cute. lol. I felt bad for waking him
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Trevor_jones27



Joined: 20 Oct 2007
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Location: Overbrook , Kansas

PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2007 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those are the best pictures of northern-saw-whet-owls ive ever seen!
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