Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Photo Of The Day February 22

Northern Hawk Owl

Yesterday I had the pleasure of seeing, and being able to shoot this Northern Hawk Owl again. Unlike my last encounter with this speedy little owl, the light today was decent and it wasn't poring rain. The Northern Hawk Owl is one of the few non-nocturnal owls in North American, so you get to see it hunting during the afternoon, which seems to be it's favorite time of day to do so. The Owl has been in the area since the beginning of December so it has a good idea of the best spots for seeing its' hunting grounds, quickly moving from power-lines to roof tops and small evergreen trees.

The Northern Hawk Owl flies very quickly, as it dives off one perch and then uses momentum to get up to the next one, flying very low to the ground (5-10 feet) in between. The second photo (below) shows the Owl as it is diving off an electrical wire.

Coming Right At You!

At one point the Northern Hawk Owl dived off a power-line and flew very close to me (2-5 feet!), as I quickly took a step back! I was not the only one who had a close call, several other photographers who were shooting the owl had similar close calls. This makes me wonder if the owl was trying to scare us off, or whether it was just doing what it normally does? As I said, seeing this bird in Southern British Columbia is a real treat, as sightings in the Greater Vancouver area are limited to three birds in the last 70 years! Of course this owl is more common in Northern BC, the Yukon, many other parts of Canada, and Alaska.