[Tweeters] Unexpected Yard Bird - NORTHERN PYGMY OWL, with images

johntubbs at comcast.net johntubbs at comcast.net
Tue Sep 23 16:23:11 PDT 2008

Hi Everyone,

I was in the right place at the right time this afternoon. I was out most of the morning and hadn't spent much time checking out the backyard birds. Then this afternoon I caught a bird dropping out of one of the Doug Fir trees onto the ground. When I glanced up at it, I could only see its head and my first thought based on color was a junco. But something just didn't look right so I grabbed the binocs. And there, staring back at me, was a NORTHERN PYGMY OWL - definitely a bird I never thought would wind up on the yard list. I grabbed the 'portable' (a relative term for serious bird photography equipment) rig and went out in the yard and shot some images. The owl seemed much more intent on looking for prey than worrying about me, so when I was sure I had some usable images, I went back inside and got the larger rig and a tripod to get some additional shots. The following link shows the bird - http://www.tubbsphoto.com/-/tubbsphoto/detail.asp?photoID=7023793&cat=38981.!
NEXT from that image to see the second image of the bird.

The owl stayed about ten minutes, then flew off to points unknown. I will be surprised if this bird becomes a regular visitor, although it might visit periodically because of the birds that frequent the feeders in the back yard. The habitat really isn't ideal for this species (though there might be some nearby) and my first thought was that this may be a young bird that is doing a post-natal dispersion and just happened on our yard. I have never seen or heard Northern Pygmy Owls anywhere near our house prior to this.

John Tubbs
Snoqualmie, WA
johntubbs at comcast.net

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