My suggestion for locating Northern Saw-Whet Owls is to look for whitewash on lower limbs of cedars or pines. Indeed look to the top of those trees incase a Long-eared Owl is roosting, however you will most likely not see a Saw-Whet even if it is there. While on the 1993 Black Mesa, OK CBC Sara and I went up to a stand of pines on the Regnier Ranch which was along the Texakeet (the place must have a dozen different spellings). I was looking for Sapsucker wells on the Ponderosa trunks when I observed a pine bough moderately covered with whitewash. Looking up I immediately made eye contact with on of the tame little NSWOs. I now understand no one is allowed on the ranch these days. If you are one of the younger birders today, you missed one of the greatest birding spots on the High Plains of NA. There were a lot of great birds discovered there during the 20th Century, along with much birding and ornithological history. Doc Sutton's ashes are scattered up one of the side canyons. Reading stories about the NSWO banders certainly indicates the species is far more abundant than one assumes. One of Ken Seyffert's neighbors in the middle of Amarillo had a dog that brought two NSWOs to their back door in one week. However, if you are casually birding most of the time you are probably not going to encounter the species more than a couple times over a 50 year period, which is my experience.