Ornithologi

A studio for bird study

Tag: flammeus

Short-eared Owl at Dusk

by Bryce W. Robinson

I’ve wanted to share this video for some time, but I simply haven’t.

Last winter while conducting Golden Eagle surveys for HawkWatch International across the western half of the state of Utah, I came upon my first Short-eared Owl for the season. It was a tolerant bird, letting me film it for some time. I was happy to capture its nervous movements, as it scanned about for threats and prey. This was the start of a winter full of Short-eared Owls and a memorable season in the open lands of the Great Basin.

Folks don’t often see owls, even those that bird regularly. For those that haven’t seen an owl for some time, or even ever, let your eyes fall on this bird until you find another.

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Short-eared Owl at Sunrise

by Bryce W. Robinson

Short-eared Owl- Asio flammeus. 9x12" prismacolor on bristol.

Short-eared Owl- Asio flammeus. 9×12″ prismacolor on bristol.

After such an amazing winter with Short-eared Owls, I knew I needed to sit down and illustrate at least one bust of the bird. Here is Asio flammeus, with a distant gaze, as if it were perched in Skull Valley as I have seen them, watching the rise of the sun and the inception of a new day.

Truly, A Winter of Short-eared Owls

by Bryce W. Robinson

Owl

This winter I have seen more Short-eared Owls than ever before. To be quite honest, I had seen very few before this year. Now I have a feeling that the bird is quite common in my area. I cannot decide whether my exposure to this owl this year is due to my constant traveling, or due to a boom in this years population spurred by an abundance of prey. As for now, it remains a mystery, but is something to look into.

At the moment, the Short-eared Owl is a bird I regularly see. These regular sightings in no way diffuse or dampen the mysticism and allure that I feel when I come upon the creature. More often than not, I first glimpse the owl in the air. As is its habit, it hunts amongst short grass fields and sage landscapes, looking and listening for movement. When it discovers its prey, it makes masterful maneuvers to procure its meal. What a delight to behold this arial owl in the evening light.

The bird in the above photo is the first SEOW that I encountered this season. It sat on this post, in the evening light, in apparent meditation and comfort. At times it would awaken and seem quite nervous, only to slip back into a doze. I will forever remember this season with these birds. They are among my favorite of those that are feathered. I hope sharing my experiences creates the same feelings of awe and wonderment in others, spurring fascination and revere for this special and delicate evening dweller.

 

Short-eared Owl Casting Pellet

by Bryce W. Robinson

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Short-eared Owl- Asio flammeus

I sat with a Short-eared Owl- Asio flammeus this morning for some time. I was lucky enough to capture the owl casting a pellet from a meal the night before. I rarely share my photography lately. The reason being that I am currently unable to afford photoshop or any program to attach a watermark, but this time I couldn’t contain my excitement and need to share this sequence. When I saw the bird hunch its back, I knew what to expect, and raised my lens, ready to capture the scene. The pellet was much larger than I ever thought possible, and I couldn’t believe my luck at the opportunity to capture the sight. Here is the sequence:

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It took quite a while for the bird to expel the large pellet. Afterwards, as the last picture illustrates, the owl looked in my direction with a look of contentment. I wonder if it is satisfying for this creature to regurgitate undigested material.