Short-eared Owl on a Ranch Access Only sign – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited
I saw and photographed numerous Short-eared Owls yesterday in northern Utah but this photo of a male perched on a “Ranch Access Only” sign was my favorite of the day. The other owl photos I took yesterday I almost feel like I have taken them before, an owl perched on a fence post just looking around, an owl resting on the ground looking around or an owl lifting of from the fence post, my archives are full of those kind photos.
This Short-eared Owl on the Ranch Access Only sign is a bit different for me because the “hand of man” in the frame is strong and although I have generally avoided that in the past but I have begun to find myself more and more open to having signs of humans in my bird and wildlife photography. Why not? My subjects have adapted to humans in their environment, they use a sign post as easily as as they do a stump or a bare branch on a sagebrush to use as a perch or a nighttime roost. We are part of their world and they are part of ours.
The words “Ranch Access Only” are bright and glaring on this brown sign but if you look closer you can see that there are white droppings running down the sign too so some kind of bird or birds use the sign post quite often as a perch. It is as if the birds take a dump on the restrictions that the words on the sign represent. They are wilder and much freer to come and go than we humans are.
Life is good.