Your mental image of an owl may be a big strong shy stocky bird... the stealthy hunter in the night.
That is true, but that's not the role a Northern Pygmy-Owl plays. Northern Pygmy-Owls don't look like fierce predators, rather a small round headed ball of feathers with an in-your-face attitude.
They're more like, "You go away. I was here first."
These diurnal hunters perch proudly in the open, often getting mobbed by other birds when discovered.
The Northern Pygmy-Owl hunts mainly other birds, often taking sparrows, hummingbirds and chickadees. Small mammals, insects and lizards are part of this owl's diet, too.
It's a bird-eat-bird world out there in the woods. So, in turn, Northern Pygmy-Owls are hunted by larger owls.
As a defensive measure they seem to have 'eyes' in the back of their head. Two black spots mimicking eyes provide a degree of doubt in any attacker's mind.
You won't have to search in the dark. Other birds will even help you find one. Listen for jays, nuthatches, wrens, warblers and many other birds mobbing the Northern Pygmy-Owl giving you its location.
That's a rather bold thing to do because, when caught off guard, all these 'mobbers' are food to the Northern Pygmy-Owl.
Credits: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds, Sibley's Guide to Birds