As darkness sets on a parched West Texas river bottom, a little owl peers out of a crack in a sycamore tree. It’s an Elf Owl, the world’s tiniest one.
The Elf Owl is a tiny bird that measures less than 6 inches and weighs approximately an ounce and a half, which is roughly the size of a golf ball.
It’s also a vicious attacker. Elf ones pops from their tree hole at twilight to hunt insects, flies, and spiders, as well as the rare lizard or mice.
Bigger food, such as scorpions, may also be held in the home for later eating once the stingers have been extracted.
In arid locations, they usually nest in peck cracks in tall saguaro cacti.
Elf birds, like other ones, are deathly quiet. The dashing sound produced by wind throughout the bird’s wings is typical.
Nevertheless, owl wing includes little expansions on the rear border and a border of hairs on the back edge that part ways the airflow and reduce noise.
Silky feathers on the wings and feet soak practically all of the remaining noise.
Creatures have no idea of what’s coming until it’s too gone. In October, they depart the U.s for Mexico’s hotter climes, where bugs are more abundant in the winter.
Nevertheless, spring comes early in the American Southwest, and the tiny birds arrive in late February or beginning Of march, anxious to begin their breeding season.
After the spring, females lay 1 to 4 eggs, which emerge in 3 weeks.
Father initially takes food back for mother and the babies, but after a couple weeks, mother leaves food searching to support the growing family.
Elf birds tend to flee instead of fight, nevertheless they have been observed mobbing attackers such as great horned ones.
Just few elf birds dive-bomb the bigger one, emitting loud alarm calls, and soon more species, perhaps of various varieties, take in.
With its covering damaged, the great horned bird’s prospects of catching an elf owl meal are greatly reduced.
If a killer approaches too closely, elfs have a different tactic: they claim to be killed until the danger has passed.
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