NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS: Aegolius acadicus

The Saw-whet Owl is almost entirely nocturnal, spending the day roosting quietly. This tiny owl was named after the sound it makes, that of a sharp raspy saw being sharpened. The saw-whet is a compact and rather rounded owl, only 20 centimeters (8 inches) or so in length. They are often approachable in the wild, but it is difficult to spot them. The saw-whet is the smallest owl in New England.

STATUS IN NEW ENGLAND: Migratory. Most numerous during cold weather months. Saw-whet Owls are on a Special Concern List sponsored by the State of Connecticut.
HABITAT: Low, moist, coniferous woodlands.
FOOD: Small rodents, small birds, and insects


This little Saw-whet Owl was rescued from the ground in Rockland, Maine in November of 2010. It was believed that she flew into a window, perhaps seeing the reflection of a safe branch. She was taken to Avian Haven in Freedom, Maine. During the rehabilitation process the little owl was unable to lift one wing at the shoulder. Several weeks later there was no improvement in the shoulder’s range of motion. She also has limited vision which may have caused the initial injury or was the result of the impact. Pippin cannot fly even short distances. Because of her weight and coloring, Judith Herman, DMV determined that Pippin was a first-year female when rescued.


Asta is a very young Saw-whet Owl rescued by a warden in Maine, She was only 6 months old when she suffered head trauma from some sort of collision. She was fortunately brought to Avian Haven in Freedom, Maine for rehabilitation. Asta successfully survived surgery although she has no vision in her right eye. She does not fly well and actually prefers not to fly at all. This may be an additional indication of head trauma. Asta would not survive in the wild. She was transferred to Wind Over Wings and joins Pippin in the Saw-whet Owl aviary. Asta will be trained for educational programs. We are pleased to have her join us. (Photo by Avian Haven).

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