Male Short-eared Owls On the Prowl in Idaho, Montana and Utah

/, Birds, Box Elder County, Centennial Valley, Clark County, Idaho, Montana, Short-eared Owls, Utah/Male Short-eared Owls On the Prowl in Idaho, Montana and Utah

Male Short-eared Owl rousing in UtahMale Short-eared Owl rousing in Utah – Nikon D810, f10, 1/640, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Short-eared Owls are nomadic so the places where I saw and photographed these male Short-eared Owls last year may or may not have owls this breeding season. It all depends on prey, if there is plenty of prey they might be back this year and if there isn’t they will move on and find locations with enough prey to sustain them and their young. I hope I’ll find the owls but more than that I hope they find locations where they will be able to successfully raise their chicks.

Last year I was able to find plenty of Short-eared Owls in a couple of locations in Utah and I photographed the males, females and their young from the chicks to fledglings.

Low light Short-eared Owl in IdahoLow light Short-eared Owl in Idaho – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/320, ISO 800, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

In Idaho I was able to find this male Short-eared Owl in low light before the sun could brighten him up but I took photos of him anyway as he perched on a mound near some railroad tracks.

Male Short-eared Owl in spring grassesUtah male Short-eared Owl in spring grasses – Nikon D810, f8, 1/800, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I saw the most Short-eared Owls in Utah but that only makes sense because I spent most of their breeding season here in Utah where I live and I was able to look for them more often than I could in Idaho and Montana. I watched them hunt and take to the ground after their prey, sometimes they would catch the prey and sometimes they would miss. This male missed his prey but I wanted to photograph him in the spring grasses doing what these handsome owls do naturally.

Early morning male Short-eared Owl in MontanaEarly morning male Short-eared Owl in Montana – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 400, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

For a couple of years I didn’t see many Short-eared Owls in Montana but last year I saw plenty of them including their young. With the wide opens spaces up there I could often see them from a mile away or more in flight over the grasslands and marshes.

Tumbleweeds with a male Short-eared OwlTumbleweeds with a male Short-eared Owl in Utah – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/500, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Last year was my best year yet for photographing Short-eared Owls and even though I still don’t know if this year will be as good I am so very grateful for all the time I spent with them last year and learning more about these fascinating diurnal owls.

Life is good.

Mia

5 Comments

  1. Patty Chadwick April 3, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Nice images of a favorite owl…like the last two best…in spite of Devil’s wire in last…never like to see that evil stuff!!!

  2. Elephants Child April 3, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    I adore owls and am so grateful for these shots. Thank you.

  3. Utahbooklover April 3, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Great images, especially the last one. Saturday I cut the grass and was surprised to not see a single mosquito.

  4. Pepe Forte April 3, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    I think your low-light shots are just as compelling as those images taken with more light. Either way…they are wonderful! Thanks Mia.

  5. Bob McPherson April 3, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Beautiful photos Mia. Your Owl photos set my heart strings atwitter

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