Snowy Owl, 3.75″ wide by 2.5″ high
There’s something about these birds that is truly magical.
I photographed this Snowy Owl in January of 2022. When I go out looking I’m never sure if I’ll see one or not, I certainly don’t take them for granted and it can take a lot of time and patience to find them. This day I got to see three Snowy Owls and a Porcupine all at once and it’s was such a treat. Since they were spread out across a mountainside I couldn’t photograph them together, but this one was sitting on the trail next to a cairn and I was lucky enough to get to hang out with it for a while.
Every winter, at least once or twice, I try and go hiking up mountains in Acadia to see the snowy owls. Up on these frozen windy mountain tops, it’s hard to imagine that these owls have come South to join us for what to them must be a more mild winter. Meanwhile I’m struggling to keep circulation in my fingers so I can even use a camera. I have had to duck into the trees for wind protection to avoid frostbiting my nose, and yet here they are. Day after day, sitting out in the trees or on the snow and they are perfectly at home. They are built for this in a way I most certainly am not.
* All my bird photos are taken with special lenses that let me get a good photo from a long way away. I’m extremely particular about respecting wild animals and places. In this particular case I choose to leave the trail and wade through the snow to give the birds more space since they were literally sitting in the trail. That said many people are far less respectful, I’ve sat and waited a long time for the owls to calm down after young children were chasing them around a mountain top. Trying to sneak up on them (not going to happen) and flushing them repeatedly. What can be a “special moment” for a kid or any person can also be harassing a wild animal, and this behavior could and potentially should lead to trail closures. Things to think about especially as habitat loss pushes wild animals closer to humans.
* My Bird Sticker project is supported in part by the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
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