The Saw Whet Owl is the smallest Owl in the eastern United States, being only 7 to 8.5 inches long. The wingspan of this small owl is 17 to 20 inches. This owl has no ear tufts and is small than either the Eastern Screech Owl or the Boreal Owl. The back is dark black and has a few white spots; the top of the head is streaked with white. The facial disc is white with fine black lines radiating from the eyes; the undersides are white streaked with red-brown. Immatures are similar in appearance to the adults but lighter brown on the upper sides and without spots. The undersides are reddish brown blending into off-white near the tail.
Nests are built in tree cavities. 4-7 white eggs are laid and incubated by the female for over 26 days. The male provides food for the female and nestlings. The nestlings fly in 27-34 days.
The Saw Whet Owl lives in forested areas of all types. They live from the Arctic boundary in Canada to Mexico wherever trees are found. Preys primarily on small rodents at night; also feeds on small birds and large insects.
Migration is irregular, and usually only to follow the primary food source and to avoid very cold weather.