The cute little owl in our story stares out of a hole in the sycamore tree. This unique owl is known as the elf owl, the bird that peeps outside when nightfall arrives on a dry river bottom in West Texas. The elf owl is recognized as the smallest species of owl living in the world.
In height, this bird is less than 6 inches tall and its weight is lower than an ounce and a half. Taking these measurements into account we can come to the assumption that this owl is similar to a tiny golf ball in size.
Image Credit: Jordan Crouch
The elf owl is a cold-blooded hunter and when the darkness arrives this bird comes out of its hollow in order to hunt for prey. Their diet consists of crickets, beetles, spiders, lizards, and mice.
Image Credit: Nathan Smith
These birds of prey are also unafraid to prey on poisonous creatures such as scorpions. After the stingers are removed, the scorpions are then stored in the nest to be consumed whenever they want to. You can spot the elf owl if you travel to woods and desert cactus environments located in the Southwest part of Texas and Southern Arizona. The elf owl usually nests in woodpecker holes made in the saguaro cactus in desert areas.
Image Credit; Joshua Stewart
Though elf owls seem to be silent, they are nevertheless deadly. A rushing sound originates as the air flows across the elf owl’s wings. The female of the species lays 1-4 eggs during spring and these eggs hatch in three weeks. During the first few days, the father elf owl goes hunting for food for the mother and chicks, but after some time the mother bird also joins the food hunting process.
Image Credit: James Tozer
When the elf owl is attacked by predators such as great-horned owls, they try to escape instead of fighting back. These birds even play dead in order to avoid the threat posed to them by predators. In the month of October, elf owls leave the United States and migrate to Mexico because of the warmer latitude there and the abundance of insects. When spring arrives in Southwest America, these tiny adorable owls return to begin their nesting season.