Portrait of a fledgling Great Horned Owl

/, Glacier County, Great Horned Owls, Montana/Portrait of a fledgling Great Horned Owl

Portrait of a fledgling Great Horned OwlPortrait of a fledgling Great Horned Owl – Nikon D200, tripod mounted, f9, 1/15, ISO 320, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

When I can be close enough to see into the eyes of a fledgling Great Horned Owl and take a portrait of it I feel honored and enchanted. In June of 2010 I had the opportunity to photograph Great Horned Owls and their young up in Glacier County, Montana on a farm. There are several old buildings where the wood has been aged by the sun, weather and wind that I find very appealing when the owls appear with it. Sometimes they will perch on external parts of the buildings and sometimes they will sit at openings in the buildings. I have also found them in the trees, old farm equipment and once on and child’s fort that was well weathered too.

One morning I could see around the corner of one building that a fledgling Great Horned Owl was sitting at one of those openings so I very slowly moved my tripod just beyond the corner where I knew I could turn the tripod head enough to photograph the fledgling. I remember feeling like I was moving in slow motion to get set up. The light wasn’t the best and I knew at ISO 320 my shutter speed was going to be very low but I wanted as much detail as I could get, I didn’t even notice how slow my shutter speed was until later when I viewed the files in my lap top. It really pays to have a sturdy tripod and good tripod head when photographing at 1/15 of a second. I could not have taken an image as sharp as this this handheld.

These owls are on a private family farm and they are used to people being around the buildings but even so I didn’t hang around this fledgling long because I don’t want to stress it or the adults I knew must be watching nearby.

Looking into this young owl’s eyes was mesmerizing and still is when I look at this image. I also like how I can see the corner of the building in the owl’s eyes along with a slice of Montana sky.

Life is good.



  1. Utahbooklover December 5, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Stunning image. And enjoyed the commentary too.

  2. Elephant's Child December 5, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Pure blissful magic. Thank you.

  3. Molly December 5, 2015 at 11:24 am

    This photo makes me smile.

  4. Joan Carey December 5, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Gosh he’s beautiful, what a very special encounter.

  5. Patty Chadwick December 5, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Looks like baby pictures of my “Wol”…brought back strong memories…and some tears…WONDERFUL!!!

  6. Cindy December 5, 2015 at 9:56 am

    One thing I’d love to do before growing much older, is to see an owl in the wild. He is mysterious and pulls you into his world, but only so far. Thank you Mia!

  7. Susan Stone December 5, 2015 at 7:33 am

    Beautiful! I’ve gotten to see one adult of this species, but from a distance. It was just amazing to watch it (the first Owl I’d ever seen in the wild), and it blended in perfectly with the rocks it was sitting on. We left when the person who took us to the site mentioned that the owl was looking a little unhappy with our presence (we were not close to it at all, but if I’ve learned anything from your blog and Ron’s, it’s don’t do anything to disturb the birds).

  8. Jo Ann Donnelly December 5, 2015 at 6:19 am

    OMG, Mia!! What a sweet beautiful little owl. I can understand your initial thrill of this capture and that to see it again now and in the future will bring back that special memory!

  9. Bob Mcpherson December 5, 2015 at 6:09 am

    Love your Owl images the most, Mia.

  10. Bob Bushell December 5, 2015 at 5:30 am

    Beautiful Owl image Mia.

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