Rare and seldom seen, this is the slightly larger and more northerly cousin of the Northern Saw-whet Owl. Distinguished from Northern Saw-whet by its colder gray-brown coloration and spotted (not streaked) forehead. Small size and boldly spotted body separate it from other owls. Fast tooting call is similar to a displaying Wilson's Snipe but with a clearer whistled tone and steadier volume. Difficult to find without a lot of effort; most often seen during "irruption" winters when large numbers move south in search of prey. Even then, requires intense searching of conifer groves to find a roosting bird during the daytime. Sometimes hunts small rodents around birdfeeders. Nests in tree cavities in forests with spruce, fir, aspen, and poplar.