saw-whet owl


: a very small harsh-voiced North American owl (Aegolius acadicus) that is largely dark brown above and chestnut streaked with white beneath

called also saw-whet

Examples of saw-whet owl in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Northern saw-whet owl doesn’t even weigh half a pound and preys on mice. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 31 July 2023 The Western saw-whet owl likes a twelve-year-old thicket of fir and ponderosa pine; deer find soft green bites in a four-year-old stand of red cedar and white pine. The New Yorker, 12 June 2023 An orphaned northern saw-whet owl returned to the wilds of Anchorage on Sunday after two months in the care of Bird Treatment and Learning Center. Marc Lester, Anchorage Daily News, 24 May 2022 In a social media post on Tuesday, the Fairfax County Police Department said its animal protection officers rescued a northern saw-whet owl on Nov. 17 in the Oakton area. Washington Post, 22 Dec. 2021 The bald eagle stood in stark contrast to the tiny saw-whet owl the organization also displayed. Chris M. Worrell, cleveland, 16 Dec. 2021 The adult northern saw-whet owl, from the smallest owl species in the Northeast, was found trapped in the 75-foot tree; its rescue amassed a following on social media (see: #RockefellerOwl). Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times, 17 Dec. 2020 The red cedar provides respite for a rare wintering bird called the northern saw-whet owl. Sheryl Devore,, 24 Dec. 2020 Wild things Consider the recent quandary of a northern saw-whet owl, one of the smallest owls in the U.S., trying to find its way home. Los Angeles Times, 3 Dec. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'saw-whet owl.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from the supposed resemblance of its cry to the sound made in filing a saw

First Known Use

1834, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of saw-whet owl was in 1834

Dictionary Entries Near saw-whet owl

Cite this Entry

“Saw-whet owl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

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