Adult Burrowing Owl Lift Off

I’ve been having fun photographing Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia) lately and it is a joy to have them in my viewfinder again.

Adult Burrowing Owl lifting offAdult Burrowing Owl lifting off – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 350mm, natural light, not baited

The light I had when I photographed this adult owl lifting off from the Sagebrush wasn’t ideal, I would have liked more shutter speed to freeze the motion. The brighter area at the top of the frame is a strip of sand on the shoreline of the Great Salt Lake.

What happened after this frame was very interesting  because the owl came closer to me and snatched a dragonfly from the air then flew off with it to the ground near another bush. I have never seen a Burrowing Owl do that before.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Love this photo, the wing curves are so neat!

  2. Love the photo, it is wonderful. I don’t see Owls very often, but I have seen a Merlin catch a Bumble Bee
    in mid-air. Such a fascinating thing to observe.

  3. I agree with everyone else. I thing the blur adds to the photo. I also like the way the owl is looking. It’s just a neat shot! It’s also cool that you witnessed the owl catching a dragonfly.

  4. He’s fantastic. The light is perfect. Carol

  5. Great Tone and the blend of all the colors in the photograph is perfect. But he only has one eye though ;)

  6. Good morning..the shot is perfect..the blur adds to the motion..there was a wildlife artist many years ago from the Black Forest in Germany who blurred all motion..incredible..Love this piece..

  7. Lovely, I like how the colors in the front are the same as the soft background. I have your burrowing owl juvenile on my desktop. It is always a pleasure to start my computer and see who is waiting.

  8. I agree with Kathleen, I think that you caught just enough blur to make it show the motion. Gorgeous photo, Mia.

  9. LOVE the light and DOF in this image! I, personally, rather like wingtip blur as it donotes ‘movement’ in the image. I am a little disappointed though – you didn’t capture the owl WITH the dragonfly in its beak! :)

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