Saturday, September 12, 2015

Five Years of Waiting

Five years ago this summer, a pair of Great Horned Owls set up household somewhere in the area.  
They have raised, successfully, 5 broods of chicks since then.

Every night in the late winter and early spring, I have gone outside to hear the familiar 
"Whhooooo, Whoo, Whhoooo"
 of one mate calling to the other.  
Sometimes they were so close, that I could hear them from inside the house.  

Always, always, I would creep quietly outside to see if I could spot them in the fading light of day.
They are terribly skittish and even one snap of a twig under my feet and they were off.

I have taken several very blurry, grainy pictures of them at dusk. 
 I have longed to see one in the daylight for five years.  A creature that I know exists, but have never truly seen in the wild-----until two weeks ago!

I was out mowing the dirt (kidding, but just barely) in my north pasture.  We had flooding rains in the spring, followed by 2 months of no rain at all.  
Tall, green grass and brush turned to tall, dead grass and brush.  
A fire danger!  
My neighbor to the north pulled onto their property and spooked a Great Horned owl from a tree.  I watched it silently glide to a stop in one of my trees.  I contained my excitement and let it settle in.  I continued mowing and catching sideways glances to see if it was still there.  
It was!

I got off the mower after about an hour and went inside.  Binoculars from the house let me know it was still there.  The problem now was that there was freshly mown, open pasture between me and the owl.  It would see me as soon as I stepped foot outside the house with the camera.

I pretended to fiddle around in the barn, which lies between the house and where the owl was perched.
I stepped from the barn toward the tree on the far side of the pasture.
Click, click, click.  
Photos through a telephoto lens.
Step closer, step closer.
Click, click, click.
Step closer, step closer.
Click, click, click.
If you look back up at the photo, you'll see that there is a large,vertical branch to the right of the owl. 
He stepped sideways toward that branch, every time I snapped a photo.  
He'd stop and look at me, as I stopped to snap pictures.
Finally, with about 300 feet between us, he'd had enough.
I searched through my camera and then with my naked eye.
He was gone. 
I hadn't even seen him leave.

Fingers crossed for one good picture, I took the camera back in the upload the photos.
One good photo from about 50!  

I know it's really no big deal, but I feel like I've captured a picture of Bigfoot!

If you'd like to read more about these amazing birds, I've attached some links.


  1. HOW SUPER COOL! Nice photo. Way to stalk and shoot your prey with the best weapon ever. How fun to see that owl doing it's best to match the tree bark. Plus those big yellow eyes giving you the stare down. Five years and five minutes of patience paid off.

  2. I've wanted to capture a photo of an owl for a very long time. GOOD job. I can get one from a long ways off, but not close! YAY!


  3. That is just about the coolest thing I've ever seen. What a fantastic photo. Good job of stalking it. Your patience finally paid off.

  4. Wow, very impressive catch! Time for one of those wall size murals!!!