My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Saw-whets . . . . did you expect anything else?

Northern Saw-whet Owl
Foreign Recaptured Saw-whet!

Last night I caught another 3 more Northern Saw-whet Owls. These three were not your average captures and defiantly kept me on my feet while banding them. The first bird was a foreign recapture (banded by someone else) that was originally banded in Pennsylvania last November (2006). I can’t wait to hear more from the Bird Banding Lab about whom and where this bird was first found.

Funny Bill
Deformed Saw-whet Bill

Then my last bird of the evening had an extra long upper mandible and deformed lower mandible. Because of these deformities . . . . the bill almost has a cross bill look to it! Good news was this freak bird was very health and a second year bird (adult). This morning I received numerous emails from raptor bill experts and I have been sharing my pictures with them. Will let you know if I hear anything else about them.


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28 responses

  1. Umm, nope, wouldn’t expect anything else from you except Saw-Whet reports! LOL!
    What a little cutie in your hand Tom! The feathers look so soft on your hand. Poor little birdie with the deformed bill.
    So, do these birdies still smell good?

    22 October 2007 at 9:01 pm

  2. Wowzer. What incredible photos. By the way – can’t these ‘darling’ little birds run those talons right through your unprotected fingers? Ouchers.

    22 October 2007 at 9:51 pm

  3. I’m just knocked out by the size of these little owls. They are so small and beautiful. Interesting deformity on that near cross-bill-looking bird. We get Red Cross-bills here, but not often enough. If that Saw-whet can still get food and have a good life, yay for persistence in the face of adversity.

    22 October 2007 at 9:53 pm

  4. Poor Bill, he was never quite like the other birds. But his mother loved him anyhow. lol. ~nita~

    22 October 2007 at 9:57 pm

  5. He’s beautiful!! Stunning photo’s!! You can show photo’s of Saw whet’s every day if you want! :)
    I envy how up close and personal you are with nature!!~~You are very lucky…I think you really love your job!!

    22 October 2007 at 10:16 pm

  6. We learn so much coming to this blog. Those little owls looks so sweet. Wonderful pictures!

    22 October 2007 at 10:17 pm

  7. Great portrait Tom, your blog never ceases to amaze me, keep it up.

    22 October 2007 at 10:19 pm

  8. Michael Head

    It’s the exceptions like that deformed mandible that make teh project so interesting. Ya Gotta Wonder!

    22 October 2007 at 11:06 pm

  9. I will never get tired of your Saw-whets! Wow, the little guy with the deformed bill he’s such a trooper. Great close up pic.

    22 October 2007 at 11:11 pm

  10. @ Pam – LOL thanks! They smell like all other owls! No pine smelling ones!
    @ Cathy – thanks and sometimes the get me good! Being tiny they just leave red marks!
    @ Robin – thanks and they are tiny for sure! The talons are what get the food! The bill just helps them eat the mice!
    @ Nita – LOL, we named this guy bill?
    @ Catherine – thanks and I promise not to do that! Isn’t that the only way to enjoy nature?
    @ Erie – thanks and glad you are learning things!
    @ Bernie – blush, thanks! Glad you have been enjoying it!
    @ Mike – Not all people are perfect and this is proof that birds are not also! Thanks
    @ Chicago – Thanks and I am glad he is doing good.

    22 October 2007 at 11:31 pm

  11. So cool to find a banded bird. Can’t wait to hear about his history!

    23 October 2007 at 7:00 am

  12. Very interesting. Do you track a “recapture” percentage?

    23 October 2007 at 8:30 am

  13. Wow Mon@rch, their feathers are so amazing! I’m glad you can take the close-up shots.
    So, do they tear their food apart once it’s been caught? This little owl’s bill deformity must not be bad enough to inhibit its ability to catch and eat food, right?

    23 October 2007 at 9:08 am

  14. Poor little buck-toothed owlie — getting his picture taken and sent all over the internet. :)

    They are beautiful birds and I love seeing them in your hands like that — such perspective. Wow!

    23 October 2007 at 9:40 am

  15. Liza Lee (poor little buck-toothed owlie) cracks me up!

    I just can’t get over those eyes!

    23 October 2007 at 9:44 am

  16. That top picture is adorable! I love owls. They remind me of my daddy. He could sit on the porch and make this really LOUD owl noise with just his mouth and the owls in the woods would talk back to him and come right up to the trees in the edge of the yard. It was so cool. He could do several different kinds of owls too.

    Maybe I can talk you into letting me use one of your owl photos to fuse into glass to make a pendant….. Maybe if I send you a pendant…. email me. :-)

    23 October 2007 at 10:36 am

  17. Ahhh, cute overload! I’m glad that the owl w/the deformed bill appeared to be doing well, since that’s often a death sentence.

    23 October 2007 at 10:55 am

  18. Kaz

    So very cool to see these! I’m thankful for your knowledge and photographic skills that you share with us.
    -Kaz

    23 October 2007 at 2:00 pm

  19. I had no idea that Pennsylvania was foreign. I will have to update all my maps.

    Do keep us posted on the feedback from the bill guys. That seems pretty interesting.

    23 October 2007 at 8:55 pm

  20. Hi Tom,
    I so love these Owls! Extra wonderful!
    You said my “Cooper’s Hawk” is really a “Sharp-shinned?” My husband and I have been debating this id for a long time. I was looking at the tail feathers and I cannot tell. Sharp-shinned has the squred off tail feathers and Cooper’s the round, right?
    Thank you so very much. I am excited to finally have the right id.
    Sherry

    23 October 2007 at 9:35 pm

  21. @ Jayne – I can’t wait also!
    @ Patrick – thanks and percentage is low but keep track of everything!
    @ Ruthie – thanks and isn’t that the only way to look at things? This bird was very healthy and it appears it has had this long bird for most or all of its life! I aged it as a second year bird meaning it was born last summer.
    @ Liz – lol and I do have a habit of showing some birds band sides around the world.
    @ Mary – Thanks and I two love those eyes!
    @ Rebecca – sent you an email as you have responded already! Thanks
    @ Adam – thanks and this bird was just as healthy as all other Saw-whets that I have banding (and sometimes more so than the others)!
    @ Kaz – thanks and its great to be able to share!
    @ Trixie – LOL, the bird was foreign meaning that the band wasn’t one of mine. And doubt I will hear from the long billed bird again!
    @ Sherry – thanks and will have to go back for a better look!

    23 October 2007 at 10:30 pm

  22. Marg

    LOL at Pennyslvania being foreign-we here in Canada are foreign too ;)

    Interesting bill on Bill LOL at nita

    25 October 2007 at 12:05 pm

  23. Cool! I wonder what caused the deformity though?

    25 October 2007 at 10:28 pm

  24. @ Marg – you have no idea how many emails I have been getting on that one guy! Thanks
    @ Larry – thanks and was probably born that way!

    25 October 2007 at 11:52 pm

  25. Very cool – I’ve heard about a lot of bill deformities in northern chickadees, but this is the first I’ve heard of an owl.

    26 October 2007 at 12:40 pm

  26. Many of the experts that have been emailing me are saying the same thing!

    26 October 2007 at 1:15 pm

  27. I am so jealous! What a beautiful bird, and you got so close!

    This is a really interesting blog!

    31 October 2007 at 2:57 pm

  28. @ Patricia – thanks and it’s the only way I know how to learn about wildlife! I am glad you found me and hope you return!

    31 October 2007 at 3:08 pm

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