Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 03/19/2016

Photo taken on February  8, 2016

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Anne Elliott
© All Rights Reserved
Northern Hawk Owl
Surnia ulula
NW of Calgary
© Anne Elliott 2016
bird of prey
8 February 2016

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Blowing in the wind

Blowing in the wind
This photo makes it look as if this Northern Hawk Owl was right in front of me, but the EXIF data shows Focal Length (35mm format) - 1050 mm. Actually, I don't even remember the owl flying in our direction and landing on a branch out in the open like this, but it obviously did. This owl gave us a few occasions of being seen, but has not been reported for maybe a month now.

It had been almost four years since many of us were fortunate enough to make visits to a family of Northern Hawk Owls, NW of Calgary. I was so thrilled to see this one on 8 February 2016, again NW of the city. It's a one and a half hour drive for me to get there, so not a drive I care to do very often - roughly 220+ km round trip.

It was like a spring day that day, sunny, pleasant and not cold. I really wanted to get over there before we got our next snowfall and it seemed a perfect day to go. There were three or four cars parked at the side of the road when I arrived at the area and everyone let me know that the owl had been fairly close to the road just before I arrived, but had now disappeared way across a huge field. "You just missed it!" - never words one wants to hear, lol! However, I was assured it would be back - and that is what happened.

"The type of prey the Hawk-Owl catches will determine its eating strategy. For mammalian prey the ritual is generally the same: the Northern Hawk-Owl will eviscerate its prey, eats the head first (especially for prey like the red squirrel, whose head is fairly large), and then—when tackling larger prey—it will eat the organs and cache the remains; with smaller prey, the owl will simply swallow the body whole."

"The Northern Hawk Owl can detect prey by sight at a distance of up to 800 meters (half a mile). Though it is thought to detect prey primarily by sight, the Northern Hawk Owl can find and seize prey under 30 cm (1 foot) of snow." From AllAboutBirds.

ROL/Photo, Les's Photography AKA aligeeach have particularly liked this photo

Anne Elliott
Anne Elliott
Thank you, Les!
2 years ago.