Whooo doesn’t love owls? Your favorite owls are perhaps stars from the screen, like Harry Potter’s beloved snowy friend, Hedwig; Pooh Bear’s misguided guidance counselor, Owl; or the impatient empiricist, Mr. Owl, of the Tootsie Roll franchise. (Our favorite would have to be our own humble, adorable, and ever helpful mascot, Petey the Owl.) With Halloween in a few short days, what better time to learn a little more about our fluffy, funny, feathery friends? Enjoy these ten curious facts and photos about the Pacific Pygmy Owl and his owl brethren.

Glaucidium gnoma californicum! The Pacific Pygmy Owl!
Part of the Northern Pygmy Family and the most common pygmy owl in the U.S.

Are you spreading rumors about me again? Photo by David Mitchell.

What’d you call me? (Photo by David Mitchell.)


1. Nocturnality is so mainstream. The Pacific Pygmy Owl, unlike most owls, hunts during the day. It’s call diurnality. But you’ve probably never heard of it.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine! Photo by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren.

Man, I really need to even out this tan. (Photo by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren.)


2. Like most hipsters, the Pacific Pygmy Owl also likes to hang out in coniferous forests along the West Coast between southern Alaska and Southern California. We bet their favorite parks are Yosemite National Park, Olympic National Forest, Crater Lake National Park, and Redwood National Park (find out awesome facts about the Redwoods here).

I hung out in trees before it was cool. (Photo by Richard A.)

I hung out in trees before it was cool. (Photo by Richard A.)


3. Call it lazy, call it resourceful, but Northern Pygmy Owls, as well as most other owls, don’t bother with building nests. Instead they simply wedge themselves in a fitting groove in the tree or steal someone else’s. No muss, no fuss!

This is the best tree an owl could'a asked for! Photo by Rob - BBM Explorer.

This is the best tree an owl could’ve asked for! (Photo by Landscapes of England.)


4. The Northern Pygmy Owl can also carry up to three times his own weight. Check out that muscle definition.

You're next, human. Photo by David Mitchell.

You’re next, bub. (Photo by David Mitchell.)


5. The Pacific Pygmy Owl is only 6 to 7 inches long and 2.5 ounces heavy. That’s about the length and weight of a King Size Hershey’s candy bar!

Put me in your pocket and take me home! Photo by AM Dougherty.

Put me in your pocket and take me home! (Photo by AM Dougherty.)


6. Like 90% of birds, owls are seasonally monogamous. Mama keeps the babies warm while Papa brings her breakfast in bed. (Husbands of stay-at-home moms: take note.)

Scoot over, you're hoggin' the branch. Photo by Alexandra Vale.

Scoot over, you’re hoggin’ all the branch. (Photo by Alexandra Vale.)


7. Although owls don’t speak as eloquently in real life as they do in cartoons, they don’t just ask “who?” either. They’ve got all kinds of vocal expressions.

Hey, get off my lawn! Photo by Richard A.

Hey you! (Photo by Richard A.)

Photo by Cuatrok.

Shut up, Lou. No one cares. (Photo by “Cuatrok77.”)


8. When you do something dumb, owls can’t roll their eyes at you, because their eyeballs are fixed in their sockets. But they can turn their necks up to 270 degrees and still manage to give you quite a condescending look.

fall swivel owl

For the last time, I don’t care about your stupid Tootsie Pop. (Photo by Richard A.)


9. If you see an owl, it could be a sign of misfortune, death, prosperity, or wisdom. Or perhaps all at once, like you’re going to die while robbing a bank, but at least you learned your lesson. It’s hard to say. Around the world the owl has a variety of myths, omens, and legends attached to it. (My favorite nugget, whether mythical or factual, is that farmers in Transylvania used to try to scare owls away by walking around their property naked, though my guess is it was more likely just a front for the local budding nudist colony. Or perhaps the true story roots of Rocky Horror?)

May your candy bag be heavy with pencils, raisins, and bargain bag Tootsie Rolls. Photo by Melissa.

May your candy bag be heavy with pencils, raisins, and bargain bag taffy. (Photo by Melissa.)


10. More than one owl forms a “parliament.” Very official and organized, these birds. I wonder if they ever hold session with a grumble of pugs, flamboyance of flamingos, or business of ferrets….

This is the true story...of when birds stop being polite, and start getting real: Real World Owls. Photo by Travel Way of Life.

This is the true story…of when birds stop being polite, and start getting real: Real World Owls. (Photo by Travel Way of Life.)


11. Petey the Owl is obviously the best owl around. (We acknowledge this fact has not yet been verified by experts, and thus wasn’t included in the original 10, but we’re anticipating a speedy approval.)


Hi! Let’s explore some parks!


Don’t you feel more educated? More knowledgeable? More prepared for Halloween?

Good. Now enjoy some more silly owl photos.


Happy Christmas, everybody! Wait a minute, what month is it?

Who turned down the thermostat? I thought this was October! (Photo by Tim Lenz.)


Rly? Photo by Web Health Closeup.

Rly? (Photo by Web Health Closeup.)


Who you calling funny lookin'? Photo by Gabor Kovacs.

What is this “comb” you speak of? (Photo by Gabor Kovacs.)


Naked Transylvanians! Photo by Jose.

Naked Transylvanians! (Photo by Jose.)