Little Owl Art Print by John James Audubon

Fine Art Prints of Distinction


A Museum Quality Print of The Little Owl by John James Audubon. In this picture, Mr. Audubon shows a pair of these night birds. The female is on top of a grassy knoll with a common mouse laying on the ground still clutched in her claw. The male is setting overhead in a dead branch with his head turned the opposite direction as if he has no interest in what his mate is doing, or else he is looking out for danger. These two Little Owls were plate or picture number 199 in the in the first Havell edition of the great ornithology book published by John James Audubon.

Strix Acadica - Mr Audubon gives the following description of The Little Owl in Birds of America.
This lively and beautiful little Owl is found in almost every portion of the United States. I have observed it breeding in Louisiana, Kentucky, and along our Eastern States, as far as Maine, where, however, it becomes scarce, being, as it were, replaced by the Tengmalm Owl, which I have seen as far south as Bangor, in Maine. It is rare in the lower parts of South Carolina, where indeed my friend BACHMAN never observed it. The Little Owl is known in Massachusetts by the name of the "Saw-whet," the sound of its love-notes bearing a great resemblance to the noise produced by filing the teeth of a large saw. These notes, when coming, as they frequently do, from the interior of a deep forest, produce a very peculiar effect on the traveller, who, not being aware of their real nature, expects, as he advances on his route, to meet with shelter under a saw-mill at no great distance. Until I shot the bird in the act, I had myself been more than once deceived in this manner. On one particular occasion, while walking near my saw-mill in Pennsylvania, to see that all was right there, I was much astonished to hear these sounds issuing from the interior of the grist-mill. The door having been locked, I had to go to my miller's house close by, to inquire if any one was at work in it. He, however, informed me that the sounds I had heard were merely the notes of what he called the Screech Owl, whose nest was close by, in a hollow tree, deserted by the Wood Ducks, a pair of which had been breeding there for several years in succession.

I have been thus particular in relating the above circumstance, from a desire to know if the European Little Owl (Strix passerina) emits the same curious sounds. The latter is said by several authors of eminence to lay only two white eggs, while I know, from my own observation, that ours bag three, four, or five, and even sometimes six. The eggs are glossy-white, and of a short elliptical form, approaching to globular. It often takes the old nest of the Common Crow to breed in, and also lays in the hollows of trees a few feet above the ground. A nest of our Little Owl, which I found near the city of Natchez, was placed in the broken stump of a small decayed tree, not more than four feet from the ground. I was attracted to it by the snoring notes of the young, which sounded as if at a considerable elevation; and I was so misled by them that, had not my dog raised himself to smell at the hole where the brood lay concealed, I might not have discovered them. In this instance the number was five. It was in the beginning of June, and the little things which were almost ready to fly, looked exceedingly neat and beautiful. The Little Owl breeds more abundantly near the shores of the Atlantic than in the interior of the country, and is frequent in the swamps of the States of Maryland and New Jersey, during the whole year. Wherever I have found the young or the eggs placed in a hollow tree, they were merely deposited on the rotten particles of wood; and when in an old Crow's nest, the latter did not appear to have undergone any repair.

This species evinces a strong and curious propensity to visit the interior of our cities. I have known some caught alive in the Philadelphia Museum, as well as in that of Baltimore; and, whilst at Cincinnati, I had one brought to me which had been taken from the edge of a cradle, in which a child lay asleep, to the no small astonishment of the mother. Being quite nocturnal, it shews great uneasiness when disturbed by day, and flies off in a hurried uncertain manner, throwing itself into the first covert it meets with, where it is not difficult to catch it, provided the necessary caution and silence be used. Towards dusk it becomes full of animation, flies swiftly, gliding, as it were, over the grounds, like a little spectre, and pounces on small quadrupeds and birds with the quickness of thought. Its common cry at night resembles that of the European Scops Owl, but is more like the dull sounds of a whistle than that of Owls generally is.

At Fine Art Prints of Distinction we painstakingly repair the original files of these old paintings and print them using premium quality inks and paper. The end result is a beautiful, archival reproduction print that will last in your home for generations and at a low cost so anyone can now have great artworks hanging in their home or business. Brandywine General Store is proud to offer for sale a Premium Fine Art Print made from the Ornithology painting entitled the The Little Owl by John James Audubon.

Inventory #199 - Fine Art Prints of the Audubon Birds

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