TINY BUT TOUGH: Found by a resident dog near sḵelhp (formerly Saltery Bay), this tiny northern pygmy owl (16 centimetres long) had hit a window very hard and was knocked unconscious, lying in the grass. A dog’s preoccupation with it alerted his owners, who then called PROWLS.
Once safely housed and observed for two days, she was sent on to Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society in Delta, where she stayed for six months. She needed this long to recover completely from her concussion and be able to fly and hunt safely.
Finally she returned to Powell River and was taken straight back to sḵelhp. With her cage door wide open, she was now unwilling to leave; she clung to the cage door swinging open and closed. Then, after taking a long look around, she took off like lightning.
Finally home and looking much like a natural bump on a log, she moved onto a low branch and eyed the nearby singing cedar waxwings, who quickly flew away, not interested in becoming her dinner.
Tiny but tough, ferocious hunters with a taste for songbirds, northern pygmy owls sometimes take prey up to three times their own size, such as the northern flicker, and even chickens! Mostly they eat small birds, as well as small mammals, including shrews, moles and chipmunks.
Hunting by day makes them easier to see than many owls, especially when they perch on the tops of conifer trees.