A Bundle of Western Burrowing Owls

/, Box Elder County, Burrowing Owls, Utah/A Bundle of Western Burrowing Owls

Focused flight of a juvenile Burrowing OwlFocused flight of a juvenile Burrowing Owl – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, not baited

I thought I would share some images I have taken of Western Burrowing Owls that I took over several days spent with them in Box Elder County, Utah. There won’t be much text but hopefully the images will pretty much speak for themselves.

Juvenile Burrowing Owls look so expressive with serious looks to funny clown faces and all of them amuse, delight and enchant me.

Wind blown juvenile Burrowing OwlWind blown juvenile Burrowing Owl – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, not baited

They learn to keep their balance even in a breeze…

Burrowing Owl juvie stretching one wingBurrowing Owl juvie stretching one wing – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, not baited

And they stretch their wings and quite often stretch the leg simultaneously on the same side as the stretched out wing.

A pair of young Burrowing Owls in early morning lightA pair of young Burrowing Owls in early morning light – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/500, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, not baited

The young Burrowing Owls seem to like the morning sun and I’ve seen several of them perched on posts next to each other.

A young Burrowing Owl about to land on a barbed wire fenceA young Burrowing Owl about to land on a barbed wire fence – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, not baited

They fly with amazing grace shortly after learning how to use their wings.

Juvenile Burrowing Owl a split second after landing on a wooden postJuvenile Burrowing Owl a split second after landing on a wooden post – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, not baited

And although they don’t always land with grace they will learn to do that soon enough.

A juvenile Burrowing Owl getting its balanceA juvenile Burrowing Owl getting its balance – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, not baited

I like to watch the get their balance because as a bird photographer that means many different poses and facial expressions in a short period of time. The trick is getting them with their eyes open and looking towards the camera.

Burrowing Owl juvenile stretching its wing on a wooden fence postBurrowing Owl juvenile stretching its wing on a wooden fence post – Nikon D810, f8, 1/1000, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, not baited

I liked this photo because it shows the whole length of one wing and the plumage pattern. The light was getting high so more of the owl’s eye is shaded from the brow.

A female Burrowing Owl up closeA female Burrowing Owl up close – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, not baited

This final image was taken two days ago and although some might find the bloody bill of this female a tad repulsive it simply reminds me that the owls are and will always be birds of prey no matter how cute they might look.

Life is good.

Mia

9 Comments

  1. Lois Bryan July 1, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    Mia I’ll never get enough of these adorable owls … great, great, great images, as always!!!!!

  2. Elephant's Child July 1, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Feathered enchantment.

  3. Dave Sparks July 1, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Wonderful collection. I’m surprised the 1/1600 ec did not stop more of the wing motion in the first shot. They must move their wings faster than I imagined. Also, I realize some of the blur could be because of DOF. Not criticising the blur of the wing tips, a desireable feature for some, just expressing my surprise.

  4. Patty Chadwick July 1, 2015 at 8:15 am

    These are all wonderful…probably can’t get a shot of one of these birds that isn’t. The second to last, with the downward extended wing is fantastic! Shows the length, detail and feather pattern so perfectly…
    Thanks for sharing this with us!!!

  5. Eileen July 1, 2015 at 8:11 am

    I love these cute owl! Awesome photos, Mia!

  6. Nancy Collins July 1, 2015 at 7:27 am

    When they unfold their wings it is just amazing how long they actually are! Great images Mia!

  7. Susan Stone July 1, 2015 at 6:07 am

    You have outdone yourself with this series, Mia. Thank you for starting my day with a big smile.

  8. steven kessel July 1, 2015 at 5:58 am

    Wow, great shots, Mia. I photograph these birds down here in Arizona from time to time. Getting them in flight is extremely difficult.

  9. Mary Jo Adams July 1, 2015 at 5:34 am

    Really love these images! I would like to know if you would ever consider doing a birding-photo workshop in some of these natural areas that you go to. As someone who lives in the Midwest, I would love to visit the places where you go to find these gorgeous birds and animals.

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