Then the wren zipped up into a valley oak, where several hummingbirds were also all-a-buzz.
And, while the sun angle was poor, I thought I could see another small bird in the branches.
Brown back, streaky white-brown breast, long tail... fox sparrow? Naw.
My friends threw out "helpful" ideas.
"It's just a gall. Or lichen."
"Then why did it just turn its head and look at me?," I replied.
A little predator? I noodled and moved toward a better angle.
"Oh - I see, said the same friend. Is it an owl?"
"Yes, that's exactly right - it's a pygmy owl."
About 6 inches tall and 2.5 ounces in weight, pygmy owls hunt small birds. Hence the harassing by the hummers and wren.
It was a proportional response.
And the four of us without binocs or big lenses. Dang.
But the pint-size predator did nicely kick-back and give us all a good gaze. And a few croppable point-and-shoot pics.
I've had glancing views and heard their calls before, but never long looks.
A daymaker species, for sure.
- Wikipedia - Northern Pygmy Owl