This cute little fellow above is a Northern Pygmy Owl. They are not native to this area and can be found in the Rocky Mountains west to California. The Northern Pygmy Owl is a tiny, woodland, diurnal Owl that is most active between dawn and dusk. This little guy is usually about 6-7 inches in height.
So how did I get such amazing closeups on these owls? These are all captive owls that I have photographed at various bird sanctuary's, zoo's, or raptor rehabilitation centers. They are difficult, but not impossible to photograph in the wild. The single best resource for information on owls that I have found on the internet is called The Owl Pages. Here is the link.
This is a Spectacled Owl, and can be found in South America