Intense Pygmy

There are close to a million euphemisms comparing size to everything else. In all these, the common theme is that the size of something, often someone, has nothing to do with their attitude, capability, or whatever comparison is at hand. Although, I think every single one has to draw inspiration from the Pygmy Owl.

Pygmy Owls are diminutive, just a few inches tall, and weigh just a few ounces. But they don’t know that. And even if you could tell them, they would not believe you.

An intense pygmy owl stares into distance.

Case in point: this superb Pygmy Owl hosted by Wildlife Rescue of New Mexico. Sure, he’s on the small side. But one day, they put him next to a Great Horned Owl–a bird of prey many, many, many times larger. Most birds would cower in fear. Most birds would do the sensible thing and leave immediately. And, most birds would figure, and rightly so, that their number is up. But not this fellow. The owl sized up a Great Horned Owl when he was next to it. He measured it. He studied it. And then. And then he decided to have a Great Horned Owl snack. Well, not really, but it seemed like he was about to!

Pygmy Owls are afraid of nothing, will take on prey far larger than them, and they are one of the fiercest predators. They have proved right the euphemisms on size many times over.

More to the story

There’s more to this story, however! When I made this photograph, this fellow was a rescue and spent his days as an ambassador owl. Somehow or other, he met his match in the wild, and somebody damaged one of his eyes. Sadly, without perfect eyesight, it is not possible to hunt successfully.

Wildlife Rescue of New Mexico stepped in and gave him a forever home. As part of their outreach program, he helped people learn about what Wildlife Rescue does and how they help. And help people realize that size is no measure of capability.

A pygmy owl stares into the camera. It's left eye is severely damaged and is completely glazed over

You can find another very intense owl, too!