According to my bird watching bible, “The Sibley Guide To Birds,” there are nineteen species of owls that are native to North America. This includes the Short-eared Owl, which is one of the more common and widely distributed (geographically) owls. These owls have a range that includes North and South America, as well as Europe and Asia.
If you know where to look, Short-eared Owls are also one of the easier owls to view because they often hunt during daylight hours, especially late in the afternoon. One area in Western Washington where you can regularly see Short-eared Owls during the winter months is around Port Susan Bay near Stanwood, Washington.
Short-eared Owls have been putting on a daily show in this area over the last month or so and I took the photographs in this post on a recent mid-January afternoon starting at around 2:00 PM. Owls could be seen posing on signposts and stumps, roosting on the ground and hunting in the nearby fields.
I took all of the photographs with a Tamron 150-600 mm lens zoomed out to 600 mm. So although I was able to get fairly close to the owls, especially the one sitting on the post, I did not need to approach so closely that the owls were scared or threatened by my presence. A good zoom lens is always a good idea for bird photography, both for capturing good close ups of the birds and to avoid harassing the birds!
The shot above is looking north east from Stanwood towards Mt. Baker, an active Volcano in the North Cascades. Great skiing at the ski area on the mountain!