Owls

Short-eared owl; © Heidi Spitzig

Short-eared owl; © Heidi Spitzig

I love owls so much, my love borders on obsession. When I first moved to the country five years ago, I saw my first owl in the wild. It flew in front of the car I was a passenger in, and ever since then, I have kept an eye to they sky in search of these magnificent birds of prey. I even volunteered for a year at Wild Wings, a bird of prey rehab, just so I could be near these birds. I didn’t even mind cleaning up the mouse and rat entrails out of the cages. I know — gross — but so worth it to be able to understand these birds more. Last winter found me parked at airports, eagerly scanning high and low for snowy owls or on the side of the road next to farms scanning the fields for any signs of owls with no luck. This past weekend, I hit the jackpot: up on Taft and Sands Road in Bloomfield, short-eared owls come out just before sunset to hunt. Witnessing these birds swoop and dive for prey in the wild has been a long-awaited dream come true. Not only that, but a Northern Harrier Hawk joined in on the hunt.

Short-eared Owl and Northern Harrier Hawk; © Heidi Spitzig

Short-eared Owl and Northern Harrier Hawk; © Heidi Spitzig

After the hawk flew off, two short-eared owls got into an epic sky battle over some food. Not the best shot, but I was so excited over what I was seeing I forgot all about my camera settings.

Short-eared Owl battle; © Heidi Spitzig

Short-eared Owl battle; © Heidi Spitzig

To watch these birds hunt with their silent flight and off into the night sky, I am reminded of the legends and stories told of these birds. Some think seeing these birds is an omen of death, but I tend to think of this sort of death in more of symbolic terms of releasing patterns which are no longer beneficial. Others believe seeing these birds aligns one closer with their truth because of the owl’s keen sense of sight. The fact that these creatures can hunt the darkest night and bring back nourishment has long instilled hope in those who believe in the ancient myths of owls. Certainly, I am left inspired after this past weekend. Hoot!

Short-eared owl soaring; © Heidi Spitzig

Short-eared owl soaring; © Heidi Spitzig

Short-eared owl hunting; © Heidi Spitzig

Short-eared owl hunting; © Heidi Spitzig

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