It finally happened, I got a few decent shots of an owl!
Changed up the routine again – very cold with flurries this morning, so I went for a quick walk in the afternoon. I decided to turn around and repeat the final loop when an adorable Pug with a furry sweater greeted me! If that wasn’t enough, I spotted the owl perched on a tree limb after a few moments.
Standing in awe for about 10 minutes, I made a run for it to fetch my binoculars. After another eternity of about five minutes, I drove home to get my real camera – and my husband. Luckily, the owl was still there, after 15 minutes. It was about 30 feet from the walking path.
The sky was filled with moody clouds. It was pretty dark, getting 1/500 with ISO 3200. The owl began to open it’s eyes a little wider at the sound of the shutter. On the tripod, dialed back the ISO to 400 – the shutter was 1/60 on a 400mm to get a proper exposure! Not the sharpest photos, but pretty good considering the circumstances and the big crop.
Starting to look around, time is running out.
Last decent pose before it turned it’s head the other way and flew off.
Barred Owl Fun Facts:
- The Barred Owl (Strix Varia) is one of the larger owl species, standing 16 to 23 inches (43-50cm) tall with a wingspan from 38 to 45 inches (43 to 61 cm).
- Relative size is somewhere between a Crow and a Goose.
- They have very dark brown eyes; most owls have yellow eyes.
- Their color pattern is mottled brown and white, giving it an overall gray appearance.
- It has no tufts on it’s head, like the Great Horned Owl, for instance.
- The right ear is a little higher than the left, which allows it to better pinpoint the location of it’s prey from two different angles.
It’s standard call is probably one of the most recognizable, sounding like:
Owl art by OpenClipArt from Pixaby
Habitat and Lifespan
- Most Barred Owls stay in a single area their whole lives, only wandering in winter when food is scarce; they do not migrate.
- Barred Owls are cavity dwellers (empty trees) but will also use a Hawk’s nest or a nest box.
- They are typically found near water and swamps with old trees.
- Young Barred Owls can climb trees! They walk their way up the trunk by gripping the bark with their beak and talons.
- Barred Owls can live about eight years in the wild.
A variety of prey constitutes their diet, including chipmunks, mice, squirrels, voles, young rabbits, birds and crustaceans.
BTW, the Bald Eagle couple made a stellar appearance a few days ago and I managed to get this portrait shot of them!