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.



  1. Nicole MacP July 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Love this photo, the wing curves are so neat!

    • Mia McPherson July 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm

      Thanks Nicole, so good to hear from you!

  2. Susan July 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    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.

    • Mia McPherson July 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm

      Thanks Susan, it was fascinating to see the owl grab the dragonfly.

  3. Steve Creek July 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    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.

    • Mia McPherson July 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm

      Thank you Steve, I appreciate you comment very much!

  4. Carol Mattingly July 14, 2012 at 9:57 am

    He’s fantastic. The light is perfect. Carol

    • Mia McPherson July 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm

      Thank you carol, the light was great!

  5. Stu July 14, 2012 at 9:44 am

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

  6. Sheila Atwood July 14, 2012 at 7:50 am

    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.

    • Mia McPherson July 27, 2012 at 4:39 pm

      Sheila, thanks for your comment, I am glad you get pleasure with my Burrowing Owl wallpaper.

  7. Syl Lobato July 14, 2012 at 8:10 am

    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..

  8. Bob Zeller July 14, 2012 at 7:38 am

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

    • Mia McPherson July 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      Thanks very much for your kind comment Bob!

  9. Kathleen Finnerty July 14, 2012 at 5:43 am

    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! 🙂

    • Mia McPherson July 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      Thanks Kath, I WISH I had been able to capture the owl snagging the dragonfly but it was actually too close!

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