The Northern Pygmy Owl is yet another owl species found in the Santa Rita Mountains. This small owl is usually brown and white spotted, but in some areas is more gray than brown. The underside is white with brown stripes. There are no ear tufts, feathers that stick up at the ears, on this species. The eyes are yellow with white eyebrows over the tops. The Northern Pygmy Owl has an ingenious coloring on the back of the head that resembles a second set of eyes.
The Northern Pygmy Owl can carry twice its weight in prey, swooping down to catch birds, rodents and insects. They have a fussy diet, and only eat the brains of mammals and the stomachs of insects.
Other owls of North America incubate their young right away, so youngsters hatch every one or two days. This owl, however, starts incubation only after all eggs are laid, so all hatchlings appear about the same time.
Reference: The Nature of Madera Canyon by Douglas W. Moore, Friends of Madera, 1999; whatbird.com