19 July 2011

Short Eared Owl Photography

Every so often we find an opportunity that we just wished we had taken earlier: in this case it's short eared owls. I've watched them hunt the grassy meadows on my friend's farm, and although I was pretty sure, I could never say for certain that they were nesting - in fact it seemed unlikely given the setting - and so close to Leeds. But now I have confirmed it! One of the great things about young owls is that they are just so noisy..! It didn't take long after hearing one pipe up, to realise that there were at least two young owl fledglings sitting in the trees - and the adults were still bringing in food. If only I'd figured this a couple months earlier..!! The picture opportunities would have been amazing.. Still, it's good to know they are at home here and I'm already looking forward to next spring.

Shorties always fill me with excitment. There's something magical about this bird - almost in the literal sense. For such a big bird they are incredible at keeping themselves hidden here on the farm. For one to suddenly arrive in the middle of a field in broad daylight is rather a shock - especially given their size. To watch them hunt is a privilege. Graceful birds, and surprisingly agile as they follow the hedgerows and flap low over the meadows. One of the best things about these birds is that they are relatively easy  to photograph as they will hunt the same fields, and they seem to take little notice if you stay quietly at the field edge. These shots were taken just before 9 p.m. - beautifully backlit in golden light. I tried my vole impression but the owl didn't seem interested... must work on getting it right.. Simon King did a great job with barn owls.. I think I need a higher pitch...  Anyway, I'm hoping that the young birds hang around for a while and maybe I'll get to see them practising their own hunting skills... 


  1. Probably lovely photos but these old eyes would've appreciated larger images on this post.

  2. Hi all,

    The short-eared owl is a species of typical owl. It is found in open country and grasslands. During breeding season, the males make great spectacles of themselves in flight to attract females. Thanks for sharing it......

  3. Lovely pictures and awesome photography.

  4. i have never seen the short eared owl before, looks like an amazing bird