Young Elf Owl – Old Saguaro
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8” x 12”, acrylic, 1982
The elf owl is the smallest owl in North America. It is the same length as the house sparrow, only 5 1/4 inches. Its favourite haunt is in the saguaro cactus country of the southwest. Growing to 60 feet, these are the giants of the cactus world. As these great plants get older, they begin to fall apart. It is this stage I like. I have seen some that are like magnificent ruined castles. They make the best roosting and nesting sites for many creatures - especially, the elf owls.

Here I have depicted a baby elf owl with down on much of his head and body, but with almost fully fledged wings. He has come out of his nesting cavity to look around in the enchanted hour between sunset and dusk, the most glorious and active time in the desert. Perhaps his brothers and sisters have already flown; perhaps they are still in the nest. Possibly tonight will be the night of his first flight.