I’ve been thinking a lot about the Short-eared Owls I found and photographed last year in northern Utah because spring is just around the corner and my chances for seeing them are increasing. Last year my opportunities for seeing and photographing Short-eared Owls were great, I found them often and photographed them frequently. This year may or may not be as good for Short-eared Owl photography. Time will tell.
Short-eared Owls are nomadic because they follow their main prey which is voles and if the vole population is low the Short-eared Owl population density will also be low. If the vole population is high that doesn’t necessarily mean there will be Short-eared Owls around.
So, if there aren’t any Short-eared Owls where I found them last year it means I may need to widen my search for them and look for them in other areas of northern Utah.
I started seeing the Short-eared Owl adults last April, chicks in May and saw the adults and juveniles until about the end of July and after that I wasn’t seeing them close enough to photograph or I wasn’t seeing them at all.
That may mean that the vole population declined where I had been photographing them or that once the juveniles were on their own the adults and juveniles moved into different areas to hunt for prey. It is big country with lots of the habitat these owls prefer so they could have moved east, west, south or north and still found suitable habitat for their needs.
Over the winter I have noticed other birds of prey that also consume voles in large numbers hanging around the large area where I photographed Short-eared Owls last year and that gives me a little bit of hope that the Short-eared Owls will come back but I also know there isn’t a guarantee that they will.
I will be looking for these nomadic Short-eared Owls because they are beautiful, fascinating and captivating subjects. I still have more I want to learn about them.
Life is good.