Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Don't Stress The Snowy Owl On My Windshield

Can You find the Snowy Owl hidden behind the tall marsh grass off in the distance? Before you pass judgement on what might be considered a lousy photo of a Snowy Owl let me explain something. I planned it that way because I didn't want to stress the bird.

I originally saw this owl when it landed on the hood of my car and proceeded to feast on a mole that it had captured. I watched in amazement for a few seconds but then something odd happened. The owl became aggressive. It tore the windshield wipers off my car with its powerful beak and talons then hissed at me. Maybe it was the song playing on my stereo that provoked it ("Who are you? who? who?" by The Who). I wanted to take a photo of it but have read that you should avoid "stressing" these owls. They have already journeyed a long way south because of a food shortage and are under a lot of stress. Just being in Connecticut is stressful enough but they also have to find enough food to survive. So instead of trying to get a photo, I turned off my radio and hid under the dashboard until the Snowy Owl was gone. 

Yes, I could have taken the photo of a lifetime but that would have been wrong. Instead, I followed the instructions that responsible birders have been preaching. I waited until the owl had flown off into the distance and was hidden safely behind grass before attempting a photo. It was the best I could do under the circumstances. I admire the expert birders/photographers who manage to take brilliant full- framed photos of the Snowy Owls without subjecting them to stress. How do they do it? Maybe I'll wait until they've had enough to eat and then try to get a wee bit closer. (I was only kidding about the part with the owl landing on my car and ripping off my windshield wipers)!


Warren and Lisa Strobel said...

Amazing! I am not sure I could have resisted trying to get a pic.

troutbirder said...

Well said and done, Larry. The word I got from the raptor center here in MN. during the last irruption was that about seventy snowys were brought in and the majority were first year youngster who apparently were malnourished due to an inability to adapt to a new hunting situation. The one I brought in was also injured and didn't survive.

Unknown said...

What a wonderful encounter! How thoughtful you were! Bird spirits everywhere thank you!

Tom Burgess said...

Very thoughtful. We should all put the bird's needs first.