Short-eared Owl
Asio flammeus
The Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) is a breeding species of tundra and grassland habitats across much of northern Canada and Alaska as well as the northwestern United States. It winters over parts of the eastern and south-central U.S. The image shown here shows a Short-eared Owl standing in the grass in Chambers Co., Texas, in March, 2001. This shot was taken with a Canon EOS 3 and EF 600mm F/4 L lens on Fuji Provia film.
The next 19 images of Short-eared Owl were taken at Bear River N.W.R., in June, 2007. As I drove along a county road bordering the refuge late one afternoon, I saw a Short-eared Owl perched on a metal fence T-post along the roadside. Over many years I have had this happen many times, and I fully expected the bird to fly away as soon as I stopped my vehicle, but I stopped anyway, just on the off chance the bird would stay put. Well, the bird sat still and allowed me to take many images as it sat on the fence, watching the grass for prey as well as paying attention to a couple of Eastern Kingbirds which were harassing it. I was able to get a number of shots with a 600mm F/4 L IS lens and a Canon EOS 1D Mark III body before the bird departed.
A day after the above images were taken I found another Short-eared Owl in a different area of Bear River N.W.R. This bird began to forage by flying back and forth along a brushy ditch trying to flush out a rodent or other prey and I was able to get a few flight shots. These images were taken with a Canon EOS 1D Mark II and EF 500mm F/4 L IS lens and 1.4X extender.
The next two shots show the Galapagos Islands endemic race of Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus galapagoensia). These two shots were taken on Tower Island in August, 2010, with a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV and a Sigma 50-500mm lens.