Owls

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A Great-Horned Owl

Owls are one bird that I would love to see more of.  I haven’t been very lucky seeing them out in the wild.  But lucky for me, a science and nature center near us houses a number of owls that have been injured and rehabilitated but cannot survive in the wild.  Being able to see these amazing birds up close is wonderful.

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This is the one barn owl there.  All the birds have stories, but her’s is particularly sad.  Stolen as a owlet, she was not treated well by her keepers.  When she came to the center, she seemed quite afraid.  But she has done well over the years and seems happy and healthy now.

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Look how beautiful her feathers are from the back.  You don’t often see pictures of the backs of birds, but the colors and patterns can be amazing.

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This is a Barred Owl.  Many years ago, I saw a Barred Owl going after a fox in our yard.  The fox got away, and the Barred Owl landed on our deck for a bit.  It all happened so fast–wish I had my camera that day!

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Of course, owls are known for their eyes.  I love how you can see the reflection of the handler on the left, and the participants on the right.

2014 has been an exceptional year in that we have experienced the largest Snowy Owl irruption in decades.  All over Michigan, and many other parts of the country, people have been able to observe Snowy Owls.  There is a ton of great information on the web about the irruption, and here’s a great link about Project SNOWstorm, an ongoing research project to help us understand this historic irruption.

I was fortunate enough to see one Snowy Owl this season.  But only because of the kindness of a stranger.  I was searching a spot where a Snowy had been spotted, but couldn’t find it.  Just as I was about to leave, a birder with a scope drove up.  She located the Snowy and kindly let me have a look through the scope.  Birders are quite a friendly lot!

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The Snowy Owl above was a short-time resident of the nature center near me.  S/he had an eye injury and had recently come to live at the center when s/he died unexpectedly.  So sad.  I was so happy that I got to photograph this amazing bird before s/he died.

I’ve attended one Owl Prowl in the past, but didn’t see an owl.  I think every group except ours saw a Screech Owl that night!  Maybe this will be my year.

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4 Responses to Owls

  1. Crooked Tracks says:

    I really enjoy your owl photos. I think they are fascinating birds.

  2. I hope you will have a successful Owl Prowl. The only owls we heard were recordings when we went on one.. I hope for a Screech-owl some day. Last night I was awakened to “duelling” Great Horned Owls. The male and female. I had not heard them for a couple months, so this was a treat.

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