The Day My Short-eared Owl Obsession Began

Short-eared owl on post in low light at Bear River MBRShort-eared owl on post in low light at Bear River MBR – Nikon D200, f5.6, 1/100, ISO 500, +.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Six years ago today I photographed my first Short-eared Owl in low light at Bear River MBR and it was the day my obsession and fascination with these beautiful owls began. I’d seen them before but not through my viewfinder. Even though the light was low I was simply dying to get a few high quality images of this male as he sat perched on a wooden post next to the road and I was elated when that happened. Sure, that post isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as a natural perch, but it was a Short-eared Owl!

Short-eared Owl ConcentrationShort-eared Owl Concentration – Nikon D200, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 357mm, natural light, not baited

The same year I found a Short-eared Owl nest and from a distance I was able to watch the male bring prey into the nest and watch the female feeding a chick. I was also able to experience 13 minutes of pure joy when I observed and photographed the female owl above early on a foggy morning at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Montana. I took hundreds of images of her in that short 13 minutes while the fog and lake mist whirled around her as the sun rose. And each time I have passed the post this female owl was perched on… I have to smile. I can’t help myself.

Short-eared Owl looking for preyShort-eared Owl looking for prey – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/400, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

This month I have had several opportunities to watch and photograph Short-eared Owls in northern Utah and I couldn’t be happier. Okay, well maybe I could by seeing them every day instead of just a few times a month. This month I’ve photographed them hunting, perched on posts, dive bombing a coyote, seen males way off in the distance perform their aerial courtship display of wing clapping and enjoyed just being around them again. And the month isn’t over quite yet.

Short-eared Owl with a green fieldShort-eared Owl with a green field – Nikon D810, f8, 1/400, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

All birds fascinate me, all birds fuel my passion (some might say addiction) for bird photography and I am truly obsessed with them all.  Today simply marks the day six years ago when my delightful obsession with photographing Short-eared Owls began on a dirt road at Bear River MBR.

Life is good. Life with owls included is a hoot!



  1. Randal Sokolik April 27, 2016 at 11:58 am

    thank you for these- wonderful!

  2. Suzanne Johnson April 27, 2016 at 9:16 am

    What wonderful images! Thank you! I live in So. Utah and don’t have the advantage of a watery refuge but still find a crazy variety of birds to appreciate.

  3. Patty Chadwick April 27, 2016 at 8:44 am

    I LOVE these images! I’m becoming more and more enamored of the short-ears. They represent the very essence of owl…in body shape, facial features and coloration. Like each image equally, except for the second to last…with the devil’s wire…alwayys makes me uncomfortable….

  4. Brian White April 27, 2016 at 7:01 am

    Wonderful obsession! Birds are the most fascinating creatures God has created, as if just for our enjoyment. You have been blessed with a the gift of this awareness of theses beautiful animals which leads to a love for all the natural world. I enjoy reading your excited stories of finding and observing birds as it is exactly how I spend my days! Best wishes for another blessed day with your obsession! 🙂

  5. Roger Burnard April 27, 2016 at 7:00 am

    Mia… do you have a way of contacting “dinahmow” with a message that I
    would like to make contact with them??? Thanks.

  6. Roger Burnard April 27, 2016 at 6:57 am

    I just looooove owls Mia, and you got some great shots. I’m envious.

    EMAIL ADDRESS IS…. [email protected]. I LIVE IN CENTER GATE


    • dinahmow April 27, 2016 at 1:49 pm

      Roger, I have to say no on the owl visit.Firstly, this is not my house and I abide by the no smoking, no visitors rule. Also, I hesitate to poke a lens too close to the owls and would feel terrible if they abandoned their eggs.I’m sure you can understand. But thank you for asking.

  7. Greg Ogden April 27, 2016 at 6:48 am

    Great job thanks for sharing

  8. Bob McPherson April 27, 2016 at 6:26 am

    Mucho beautiful images of these owls, Mia.

  9. dinahmow April 27, 2016 at 6:25 am

    I’m house-sitting in Sarasota FL and right outside my room,20′ up in a palm hollow is a screech owl nest.The evening I arrived I saw one owl, probably female.My friend says there are chicks so I’m hoping …

  10. Kim April 27, 2016 at 6:11 am

    Love these!

Comments are closed.