Elf Owl: the smallest owl in the world

On the road: filming Texas Wild

When it comes to filming wildlife we all of course have certain animals on target list. But, as any wildlife photographer knows, you truly never know what you are going to find when you head to the field on a filming trip. You don’t always get what you set out to film but sometimes you get what you never expected. While traveling from the Hill country down through the Trans Pecos during the month of June, Ray and I were able to gather great footage of Western Screech Owls and Elf Owls!

Elf Owls are the smallest owl in the world; as adults these birds weigh at most 1.4oz! That is as much as 8 nickles! Incredible! This pair of Elf owls in the Davis Mountains had taken up roost in what appeared to be an abandoned woodpecker cavity. We were able to capture them foraging at night to feed their young. The owls were filmed in infrared light, which is not visible to the eye and does not disturb the birds in any way. The result, awesome footage of parental care and the curiosity of an adorable young owl.

Special thanks to Shawn Bice, Regional Interpretive Specialist Cassie Honolka, Superintendent Wanda Olszewski and District Leader Mark Lockwood for their support and warm welcome to the park.

-Jessie