Juvenile Saw Whet Owl in NJ

The New Jersey birding listserv just reported a juvenile Saw whet owl at 'The Rips' off Cape May Point today. The bird was being harrassed by gulls and flew around the boat around 9:30 am. The species is not known as a breeder in south Jersey, but....



Jochen said...

Must - book - flight
(voice shaking)

Owlman said...

Crazy stuff Jochen. I wish I could track down a baby Saw whet! I did see a nice Screech owl juvenile while camping with the family.

chilibean said...

Hey, I just came across your blog while investigating owl sounds. I just was outside trying to find the source of a night caller I've been hearing but not seeing for the past month. I was sure it was a heron, as it was an odd, scratchy "aaackk!" and I live on a freshwater lake near the bay (LI, north fork) and we have lots of egrets, night and blue herons. Anyway, I finally saw our new resident tonight, from a distance but now know it is an owl! and another was answering it. 'Not sure what kind, maybe Barn from the recordings I heard.
Several years ago I had the pleasure of meeting a saw whet owl--It was a cold Feb night and I was driving home slowly and there was what looked like a chunk of ice in the road, then it blinked at me. I got out and picked up this tiny owl. I had no idea what kind. It looked like a baby but I knew it wasn't the right time of year...my eight yr old son thought it was at once thrilling and yet thought I was crazy to keep it on my lap. He was afraid it would fly around the car, but it was very quiet in my hand as I drove the short ride home. Once home, we put it in a box and zoom--it was out in a second and flew and rested on the screen of our porch. A wildlife rehab neighbor came to take a look and, after a thorough exam, declared our find a fit Saw Whet that had probably been stunned or grazed by a car while hunting. We then took it right back to where I found it and it flew into a huge tree. I think of it every time I go by the spot and look for them in that area but never saw another one. That was my first live encounter with an owl. Tonight was my second. I hear great horned once in a while here, but not regularly. Like your pic of the owl. Keep on birding.

Anonymous said...

Hey, just found your blog while researching owl sounds. I just now (finally!) saw the night caller I've been hearing for the past month--was sure it was a heron as we have many on the lake behind my house and it makes this odd, scratchy "aaackk" sound, very intermittently. Tonight I got a brief glimpse and it was an owl, not sure but maybe a Barn, from what I could make out of its shape and the recordings I heard. And there was another answering, but I did not see it.
I had the pleasure of meeting a Saw Whet owl several years ago on a cold Feb. night. What appeared to be a chunk of ice in the road blinked at me! I got out to investigate and there was this tiny owl. I picked it up, it made no fuss and carried it home on my lap while I drove the rest of the short ride one handed. My then 8 yr old was both thrilled and afraid it would start flying around the car. We got home, put it in a box and zoom, it flew out in a second and latched onto the screen of our porch. I called a wildlife rehab spec. near us and she came over to take a look, gave our find a thorough exam and declared it a fit Saw Whet that had most likely been stunned or grazed by a car while hunting. We happily returned to where we found it and it flew up into a giant tree nearby. I think of it every time I go by, esp. on cold nights, and my son remembers that night well. I have not seen any since but keep an eye out. That occurred in Orient, NY. Like your pic of the owl in the tree.

chilibean said...

Sorry about the double entry (chilibean and anon.)I was having trouble getting through, I thought. Apparently not!

Owlman said...

Hi Chilibean,

Thanks for stopping in. Barn owl are super owls. They are pretty common in South Africa and one of my friends raised/rehabilitated one while I was at school. Here's a photo of the owlet http://owlbox.blogspot.com/2007/12/ughs-barn-owl.html

I was lucky to see Saw whet a few winters in a row in NJ, but for the last 2 years I've stuck out. I'm hoping to join a Saw whet research team in PA in Fall. They do owl banding which will be awesome!

Have you ever considered putting up an owl box? Barn owls readily take up residence in owl boxes.

Thanks for stopping in and commenting - much appreciated!