Young Short-eared Owls Calling, Begging and Lifting Off

/, Box Elder County, Short-eared Owls, Utah/Young Short-eared Owls Calling, Begging and Lifting Off

Fledgling Short-eared Owl callingFledgling Short-eared Owl calling – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/800, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I miss seeing the Short-eared Owls chicks, fledglings and juveniles when I go out photographing now that they have grown up but I am delighted that I was able to see so many of them this year in northern Utah and in Montana. I used to think that Burrowing Owl chicks were my favorite young birds but after spending so much time with Short-eared Owls this breeding season I have to say that they are tied. I couldn’t pick a favorite.

In June I photographed this fledgling Short-eared Owl calling to an adult while it perched on a gnarly old fence post. The light was perfect and the fledgling pretty much ignored me.

Begging fledgling Short-eared OwlBegging fledgling Short-eared Owl – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

In this frame it might look like the fledgling Short-eared Owl was disturbed by my presence but it was simply begging to be fed by an adult that was flying nearby but out of the frame. They can become very animated when they think they are going to be fed.

Juvenile Short-eared Owl lift offJuvenile Short-eared Owl lift off – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I don’t recall if this is the same young owl or not but this image was taken across the road from where the first two images in this post were taken. The Short-eared Owl had been perched on a rusty metal  fence post and when it lifted off to take flight I was able to capture this image with its feet dangling down and its wings in a nearly perfect V position. I meant to post this image earlier but it has been a very busy summer and I just hadn’t gotten around to processing it.

Yes, I miss these young Short-eared Owls but I hope they are doing well and will return next year to breed and have young of their own.

Life is good.



  1. Stephen Leonard August 29, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    My favorite is the last with talons dangling and high wings. Simply awesome.

  2. Todd Henson August 28, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Great images, Mia! I’m always drawn to owls. I love the different behaviors you’ve captured, especially the last two. There’s a real piercing stare to the second image, the fledgling must have been hungry! Beautiful work.

  3. Elephant's Child August 27, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Owls? A perfect start to my morning. Thank you.

  4. Jerry Ellison August 27, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Great shots Mia…what a year for Owls up north!! I was out there today and didn’t see a single one…FYI

  5. April Olson August 27, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Beautiful. I love their slightly walleyed look. It makes it hard to tell where they are focusing.

  6. David Sparks August 27, 2016 at 11:25 am

    I have never seen a SEO but from these images, I understand why they are tied with the Burrowing Owls.

  7. M. Bruce August 27, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Spectacular series Mia. That flight photo takes my breath away!

  8. Marie Read August 27, 2016 at 9:26 am

    GREAT takeoff shot!

  9. Patty Chadwick August 27, 2016 at 8:00 am

    A wonderful series! I especially like the first– where the bird and its perch almost meld into one.

  10. Neil Rossmiller August 27, 2016 at 7:55 am

    The SEOs and Burrowing Owls certainly were great fun to be around and photograph this spring and summer, Mia. Our first encounters with both. Thanks to you and Ron, we were successful locating several every time we made the early morning drive to Box Elder county. Those Burgers and fries in Corinne always capped off a fine morning as well.

  11. Bob McPherson August 27, 2016 at 6:32 am

    Beautiful images Mia. Your owls are a favorite.

  12. Deb Tracy-Kral August 27, 2016 at 5:41 am

    It is such a treat to see these young owls and so beautifully photographed in such sweet light, Mia. We only see them wintering in the grasslands here, distant and usually at dusk!

Comments are closed.