"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
Owl on the Prowl

Owl on the Prowl

This absolutely gorgeous barred owl has been a regular visitor to my back yard for nearly a decade, making its debut in the summer of 2008 as a youngster. The first time I saw it, it was perched on my Japanese Maple but quickly moved to the fence separating my property from my neighbor’s after getting flashed by the camera. For the first few years, it came back often, but these were the only photos I got until it was large enough and steadfast enough to remain mostly indifferent to my presence in its adopted garden.

Fast forward a few years and here’s what the owl looked like last summer. In all but two of these photos, it’s sitting on what’s become its favorite branch on the cypress trees behind my pond. Its downcast eyes — in the first two photos — are trained on the carp in the pond, and it will watch them for hours until I either shoo it away, or it manages (though it rarely does) to snag one of the fish (which are not intended as owl-snacks!) and fly off.

I haven’t seen it yet this year, but early in the evenings for the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard it — not too far away — as its very distinctive call is unmistakeable. Hearing the call again reminded me of these photos — a couple of which appeared here in 2018 when I first started blogging again and was re-learning how to use WordPress. I went through my archives and reprocessed these thirteen photos to share with this post. I think the last one’s my favorite, and, while I did use a zoom lens to get so close in, the owl was only about ten feet away: we’ve gotten used to each other, and it no longer soars off when I walk toward it with the camera. I expect I’ll get a chance to pose it in a new photo-shoot within the next few weeks.

Thanks for looking!


    1. Dale

      Thank you! It is amazing how the owl will just watch me (and the dog!) so intensely … Sometimes it will hop to a higher branch but I think that’s only after determining I’m not a snack! πŸ™‚

  1. How cool. What it beautiful bird, I love owls but rarely spot one. These are all excellent shots, but the one at the start of the series, with the owl looking down, or perhaps dozing, is just wonderful. I’m sure the Harry Potter books have made a whole new crop of kids into owl fans, even if they’re not interested in the birds as a rule
    It’s also great that the owl has become so accustomed to you that you can get that close

    1. Dale

      Thanks! The owl perches and looks down from that branch because it gives him an unobscured view of the fish in my pond … when the fish are small, he just watches; when they get bigger … well, let’s just say I didn’t know owls ate goldfish until one day I heard a lot of splashing and then saw him way up in the tree with something bright orange in his mitts … what a shock! especially for the fish!

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