The Little owl (Athene noctua) was introduced to the UK by Col. E.G.B.Meade-Waldo in Kent, in 1874 and by the 4th Lord Lilford in Northamptonshire around 1889.
Little owls are the smallest owl in Britain and are about the size of a Starling. They can be spotted on walls, fence posts, farm buildings and exposed branches and are active both day and night, but especially from dusk to midnight and again at dawn.
Their brilliant eyesight means they can hunt both in the day and night, looking for small mammals, moths, beetles and earwigs. They will also eat earthworms after it has been raining. The Little owl hunts by running along the ground or pouncing down from a perch. Their amazing hearing helps them locate small mammals.
Little owls make over 20 different sounds, ranging from hoots, deep whistles, yelps, a kweew, kweek sound and a woop.
The first I knew I had a Little owl near my house was hearing a strange call just after dark, I thought it was an owl of some kind and after checking on-line I found out it was the contact call of a Little Owl. Some evenings I could hear another owl replying.
Each time I went out I searched along the barn roofs, the hedges and along of the hay bales. Little owls apparently even like sunbathing.
My mum saw the little owl a few times while I was at school, sat on top of the hay bales. My dad saw it early one morning about 1 metre of the ground on a branch being hassled by a blackbird, but no matter how hard I looked I never saw it, only heard it.
It took about 6 months before I finally saw and photographed the Little owl this week. I was walking back out of the field after taking some photographs of Roe deer when I heard a Raven calling overhead, as I was looking for where the Raven was I noticed there was a Little owl sat on the barn roof right opposite my house. The following evening I checked again and this time it was sat on a tree stump.
Little owls nest in holes in trees and I’m hoping that they have found somewhere close to have chicks.