A Short Eared Owl And A Bit Of Luck


Owls are becoming one of my favorite subjects to photograph and why not? Owls are awesome. A week or so a go I was on the prowl in search of another barn owl to photograph when I came across this short eared owl sitting on a fence post.


Short eared owls are pretty common here but where I was looking for the barn owl isn’t exactly my hot spot for short eared owls so I was a bit shocked and surprised to see one there. In fact, in the many years I have been bird watching I have only seen 2 short eared owls within a 15 mile radius of where I came across this one.


To be quite honest I almost missed it entirely. After searching for barn owls with no luck I decided to head home. I was skunked. Yes, skunked. Driving home took me back through the spot where I always find barn owls, well, except for today that is. I figured there was no need to look any further. They just weren’t out and about today so I really didn’t plan on stopping and giving my honey hole one last look.

Being a bird watcher my eyes are set to notice movement. Off in the distance I noticed something flying by but it was only a northern harrier, way too far off for a photograph and, as always, flying in the wrong direction. It did, however, cause me to turn and look at a fence pole I quite often see meadowlarks singing on in the springtime. Something was on the fence post alright but I was certain it was another rough legged hawk just waiting to take off as I was reaching for my camera.

As it turns out luck was on my side. Not only was it going to sit and wait for me but it was a short eared owl perched on the frosty railroad tie fence post. Its head constantly turning every which direction, possibly to keep an eye out for other predators. If my eye hadn’t been caught by a northern harrier off in the distance I never would have turned my head and seen this beautiful owl perched so peacefully on the fence post. It just goes to show sometimes in photographing nature you have to have as much luck as you do skill.

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