Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.
What are Elf Owls?
Imagine a dark, starlit night. You are out enjoying the breeze when suddenly you see a small animal sitting on a tree branch. You are curious, but it starts making a barking noise and clicking its beak when you take a step closer. That's not a tiny dog in a tree; it's an elf owl!
Elf owls are the tiniest owl on Earth, have grayish-brown feathers, round heads, and yellow eyes. Some owls have feathers that stick up on their heads and look like ears, but the elf owl doesn't have them.
Elf owls are about five and a half inches long, which is just a little smaller than a fork or spoon. Bigger elf owls weigh almost two ounces, which is almost as much as ten quarters. They usually live to be about five years old in nature.
Besides flying to get around and catch food, elf owls walk, hop like kangaroos, and are even great at climbing trees.
What do Elf Owls Eat?
Elf owls are carnivores and eat meat like moths, crickets, lizards, scorpions, and rats.
They are nocturnal, which means they are most active at night, and are completely quiet when they swoop down in flight and grab their dinner. Elf owls are so silent, their prey never hears them coming thanks to some special feathers on the borders of their wings that dampen sound. They would be great at hide and seek since you'd never hear them moving!
While these owls are hunting, they have to be careful not to become a snack for other animals, too, like snakes, coyotes, and even other hungry owls.
Where do Elf Owls Live?
Elf owls live in the southwest United States, Baja, California, and Mexico. You will find them gliding around in forests, deserts with saguaro (pronounced sah-WAH-roh) cactus, brush lands, and canyons. They also live in towns and suburbs.
Where they nest depends on where they live, just like some people live on farms and others live in apartments in the city. They make their nests in places like holes in trees, utility poles, and even empty woodpecker nests in those saguaro cacti.
Those homey nests are usually about 15 to 35 feet high, making it hard for enemies to get them.
Elf owls are the tiniest of all owls, live in the U.S. and Mexico, and have round heads, yellow eyes, grayish-brown feathers. They are nocturnal, meaning they're most active at night when they hunt for dinner. Elf owls are carnivores and eat things like rats, moths, and lizards, and make no noise when they swoop down to catch their dinner.
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