Funeral for an Owl Friend

Saying Goodbye to Mr. Higgins

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This is my first time writing a eulogy for an owl, and it is a special one.

Mr. Higgins, as we called him, an adorably ferocious Northern Saw-whet Owl and bird ambassador at Christine’s Critters, left this world a few days ago.

His loss has left us heartbroken.

We first met Higgins during our visit to Christine’s Critters in 2018 to profile their work on IntoBirds. Impressed by Christine’s mission and the unwavering support of her Mom, Betsy, we have supported them ever since. 

We instantly adored Higgins, fell in love with this tiny owl, and wanted to support him in any way we could. Higgins was loved by all the kids and adults who met him.

Northern Saw-whet Owls are highly nocturnal and seldom seen in the wild because of their camouflage, so seeing one up close was incredible.

Unlike other owl species, they don’t have ear tufts. Instead, they have a black bill, a distinctive white “V” on their cat-like face, broad reddish-brown streaks on their underparts, and white spots on their shoulders. Higgins was a stunning example of this species and a testament to their beauty and resilience.

We have been sponsoring Higgins and several of his bird friends at Christine’s Critters since 2018, and supporting their mission to rehabilitate and release injured birds of prey.

Higgins will be remembered as a thespian, musician, advocate, and tiny owl with the prominent personality of a Great Horned Owl.

Higgins reminds us that the greatest gifts in life often come in the smallest packages

Owl Thespian

His flair for the dramatic was on display through his expressive bright yellow eyes. It’s as if he enjoyed watching humans, darting his head back and forth, studying our reactions, until closing his eyes and checking out of the human world with a well-earned nap.

Acclaimed Owl Musician

Higgins’ musical ability was on display during his late-night concertos, sounding like a saw being sharpened on a stone. The Northern Saw-whet owl’s song is a distinctive-sounding series of too-too-toos of whistled notes.

Staunch Bird Advocate

Higgins survived a cat attack, which robbed him of his gift of flight. Cat saliva is deadly to birds, and if a cat bites a bird, you have 24-48 hours to get them onto antibiotics before they die from the infection. Christine’s Critters immediately got Higgins on antibiotics to stop the infection, and a vet did their best to set his wing, but he could no longer fly.

Since arriving at Christine’s Critters for care, Higgins thrived in his new role as a bird ambassador. He educated people about his species and showcased his unique physical features, which made him stand out from other owl species. These features make Higgins, and his species, one of the most distinctive and fascinating creatures in the bird world.

Christine’s Critters is an outstanding organization that provides a safe haven for birds of prey, including Higgins. Bird ambassadors, like Higgins, serve as crucial advocates for conservation efforts and play a significant role in shaping public opinion about the natural world. During his lifetime, he brought joy to everyone who saw him. Through his story, he educated them about the perils cats pose to birds.

If Higgins could have talked, he would have told people to keep their cats inside.

Higgins symbolized the importance of providing assistance to an injured bird in distress. If you find an injured bird, please call a wildlife rehabilitator immediately. Their life depends on it.

Being a Tiny Owl

Higgins was a tiny owl about the same size as an American Robin and weighed less than 3 ounces. Candy bars weighed more than Higgins, yet he was as feisty as a Great Horned Owl.

Higgins was about the same size as an American Robin and weighed less than 3 ounces

“He’s adorable and charming but can be so mean,” Betsy laughs. “He’s feisty, and he has to be as a tiny small owl to survive in a world where everything is trying to eat you.”

Higgins taught us that his charismatic yet secretive nature leaves much to learn about these tiny owls. Bird ambassadors such as Higgins, ongoing education, and advocacy play a critical role in protecting and preserving species of concern like the Northern Saw-whet Owl.

This tiny owl touched so many lives, and I, for one, feel grateful to have met him and to learn more about these incredible owls on such a personal level. IntoBirds was proud to sponsor him and help make a difference in preserving and protecting our natural world. The impact Higgins left on our lives is profound.

IntoBirds mourns the profound loss of Mr. Higgins, a Northern saw-whet Owl and bird ambassador at Christine’s Critters

Higgins reminds us that the greatest gifts in life often come in the smallest packages.

Our love for this tiny owl is a testament to how much we cherish the natural world around us. We hope Higgins’ legacy lives on and inspires others to appreciate the beauty of nature.

This tiny owl will forever be in our hearts.

Fly high, Mr. Higgins, you earned your forever wings!


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  1. This is beautiful, Mr Higgins will always be in our hearts 🦉💜 and never forgotten. So much life and personality in a tiny package. He has left such a mark and taught us so much. Thank you Christine and Betsy for sharing such an incredible soul with us. Fly high and free sweet Mr Higgins we love you🦉💜🙏.

  2. I am so very sorry about your loss. Mr. Higgins sounds like he was a magnificent soul! May he rest in peace.

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