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Saw-whet Owl

Scientific Name:  Aegolius acadicus

Species Ambassador:

Mr. Bean

Our male Saw-whet Owl was brought into Blandford Nature Center in 2009. He had flown into a window at the Caledonia High School, resulting in permanent soft tissue damage to his left wing.  Mr. Bean can hardly fly, making it impossible for him to hunt for food and escape predators in the wild.

Status of the Saw-whet Owl in Michigan

Saw-whet owls are a common species in Michigan, but are not often seen due to their secretive nature.


Alarm call sounds like “skiew” which sounds like a whetting of a saw.

Click below to hear a Saw-whet Owl!

              Typical call:

                                             Alarm call:


Northern Saw-whet Owls inhabit coniferous and deciduous forests. Northern Saw-whet Owls nest in old woodpecker cavities, usually of the larger species such as the Pileated Woodpeckers or Northern Flickers, and they can nest in natural cavities. They will also use nest boxes. 


They mainly eat small rodents, like deer mice, but they will eat young chipmunks and baby squirrels. They eat insects often during the summer, and will occasionally eat small birds that are awake at night.

The Role of Saw-whet Owls in Our Ecosystem

Saw-whet Owls help to keep populations of Woodland Deer Mice in check.

Threats to Saw-whet Owls

Currently, there are no known threats to this species.

Interesting Facts

-During the winter, Saw-whet Owls will actually catch extra food and hang it in trees to freeze       for a later day when food is scarce.  When they are ready to eat the frozen food, they sit on it    until it is thawed and then dig in!

-The Saw-whet Owl is the smallest owl in Eastern America.

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