Burrowing and Short-eared Owls in May – Satisfying my Owl Obsession

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Adult male Burrowing Owl on a rusted poleAdult male Burrowing Owl on a rusted pole – Nikon D810, f8, 1/400, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

In my Exceptionally Obliging Turkey Vulture post yesterday I mentioned that I had headed north to find owls, Short-eared and Burrowing, and that I had found them, lots of them.

I started the morning by seeing a Short-eared Owl in its moth-like flight way off in the distance but the first owl I focused on with my camera was a male Burrowing Owl on a rusted pole in warm golden light.

Sunrise adult Burrowing Owl maleSunrise adult Burrowing Owl male – Nikon D810, f8, 1/320, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Then a few minutes after I left the first Burrowing Owl I found another one close to the road in what I think was great light with a creamy and complimentary background. Sure it is a man made perch but could the light and background get any sweeter?

I saw quite a few more Burrowing Owls off in the distance too on Friday morning.

Short-eared Owl profileShort-eared Owl profile – Nikon D810, f10, 1/320, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

The next owl I was to photograph on Friday was a Short-eared Owl male in profile looking around either for prey or at the other birds in flight nearby. We have had so much rain this spring that fields that are normally drying up by May are still green and lush which delights me for the different backgrounds I am able to obtain.

Short-eared Owl male hunting from a perchShort-eared Owl male hunting from a perch – Nikon D810, f9, 1/800, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I watched as this Short-eared Owl dove to the ground after prey and came up with empty talons twice and as it kept searching with its eyes for more prey.

Male Short-eared Owl on a May morningMale Short-eared Owl on a May morning – Nikon D810, f8, 1/640, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

After an unsuccessful attempt at grabbing prey the owl landed on the same perch. This owl had bloody talons so I knew it had recently caught something.

Male Burrowing Owl Standing GuardMale Burrowing Owl Standing Guard – Nikon D810, f8, 1/1000, ISO 250, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

As I drove around I saw quite a few more owls that I didn’t photograph because they were either too far away or they were close but in poor lighting conditions. As I was getting ready to head home though I had to stop and capture a series of images of this male Burrowing Owl standing guard about 70 feet from an active burrow where I could see a female close to the opening.

I am thoroughly enjoying photographing Burrowing and Short-eared Owls in May and satisfying my owl obsession. But the month isn’t over yet and there is June, July, August and September yet to come.

Life is good.

Mia

P.S., my owl obsession will never be satisfied. Ever. I can’t imagine ever seeing enough of them to do that.

7 Comments

  1. Utahbooklover May 15, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    Very nice images—I especially like the last too. Yes, all the rain has been welcomed.

  2. Elephant's Child May 15, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Too many owls would be barely enough.

  3. Roger Burnard May 15, 2016 at 10:20 am

    THIS IS ANOTHER GREAT SERIES…!!! WELL DONE!!
    I LOVE OWLS, AND YOU NAILED THESE. ;-)))

  4. Patty Chadwick May 15, 2016 at 9:58 am

    These great shots sure don’t alleviate my obsession with owls,mespecially these two kinds, only makes it worse!!!

  5. Patty Chadwick May 15, 2016 at 9:50 am

    FYI–“owl obsessions” aren’t “satified”, just temporarily abated….

  6. Bob mcpherson May 15, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Beautiful photos Mia. Love the owl series.

  7. Patty Chadwick May 15, 2016 at 9:17 am

    That’s what I call a “feast of owls!”….great images of two of my favorite owls….what a great way to start an otherwise dreary day!!!

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