Central American Pygmy Owl

Today Harvey and I went on a nature walk with a couple guests from California. Interested in seeing birds, they had brought a pair of binoculars along, which we soon had an opportunity to use. We were walking along what seemed a deserted trail when Harvey suddenly motioned for us to stop and pointed up into the trees on our left. We saw nothing, and Harvey had to lead us along the branches with his finger to show the little fist-sized lump of white and light brown that was a pygmy owl. With the help of the binoculars and Harvey’s guidebook, we were able to identify it as a Central American pygmy owl. Without the binoculars it would have been impossible to distinguish between the three or four species of owl, since they are all roughly the same color and only differ in markings and patterns on their chest, head, and tail feathers. Although I couldn’t get a picture since it was too far away (still no zoom on the camera), here are some photos that Bismar took last summer, the season when trees’ foliage is much less dense and in some cases nonexistent.

It is winter (the rainy season) here now, and therefore very impressive that Harvey was able to spot the tiny bird through all the leaves without the help of a flashlight at night, which is when one usually sees the owls.

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