Last week, I was invited to look for Elf Owls with Tommy DeBardeleben and Melissa Okimoto. This is a bird that I have never before been able to see well and also to get a decent photo. Our trip was an evening trip to the Coon Bluff area of the Salt River. I knew the owls were there, but had never gotten lucky enough to actually see one; I had only heard them in the past.
This is the world's smallest owl species at only 5¾ inches, which makes them about the size of a sparrow! They are a migratory species that winters in southwestern Mexico, but their breeding range extends northward into southern Arizona.
Shortly after dark we heard one call and we worked our way to the call and I really do not know how Tommy spied this little bird at night in a tree, but he did. He has to be an 'owl whisperer'. This first one did prove to be a little shy for photos, but I managed to get a couple of photos, albeit, a bit blurred.
(NOTE: All photos were taken without the use of flash from the camera!)
After trying to follow it around for a while and it was beginning to get more elusive, we then headed to a new location to try to locate another one. Eventually we heard a second Elf Owl calling and we scrambled up a small ridge and located it. This one was definitely a bit more cooperative and allowed Melissa and I to get some great photos of this amazing small nocturnal owl.
I knew that I had to get photos of this bird because I recently purchased my very first personalized vehicle license plate. At least now I can confirm that I have photos of the bird that match my plates..
This may be a short post, but this bird is worthy to have a post dedicated to it!