Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author Marty Essen

They don’t get any cuter than this!

Marty’s photo of the day #3679: I rarely choose my photo of the day until minutes before posting. That’s because sometimes one of my older photos will fit a current event, sometimes I really have to dig, and other times I haven’t shot the photo yet (that’s the beauty of living in the forest at the edge of the mountains, in Montana). Early this morning, I was moving my laptop computer out to my front porch office, when I had to chase a squirrel off of Deb’s chair. The little bastard had ripped open a seam and was absconding with a hunk of fiber fill. I went back inside to grab a cup of tea, and when I returned, I spotted what I thought was the squirrel, coming back up the steps for more. I was just about to yell at it when I realized it was an owl, not a squirrel.

At first I thought it was a baby that couldn’t fly or was injured. I called Deb out to the porch and she exclaimed, “It’s not a baby. It’s a pigmy owl!” Well, we were both wrong—sort of. As I shot picture after picture, Deb grabbed our bird identification book. What we were looking at was an immature saw-whet owl.

Fortunately, the owl was not injured—and she can fly! I shot more than fifty photos from various angles, including when she took off and flew to a low tree branch.

This has been quite the owl-year at our house, allowing me to capture up-close images of saw-whet, great gray, and great horned owls. You can expect more photos of this adorable saw-whet owl in the coming days.

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