The short-eared owls of Boundary Bay
I traveled from Nanaimo to Boundary Bay (in Delta, B.C.) twice this winter to photograph owls. Within an hour-and-a-half of my first trip, I photographed my first snowy owl. On my second trip, I photographed a barn owl and a long-eared owl for the first time. However, on both trips, I spent most of my time photographing the abundance of short-eared owls that migrate to Boundary Bay each winter.
While a small number of short-eared owls migrate to the Nanaimo area as well, it can be tough to get within a thousand feet of them. At Boundary Bay, as I quickly found out, short-eared owls regularly fly and perch close to humans, making the area a photographer’s dream. Below, I’ve categorized my photos and videos by the variety of behaviors I observed.
Every so often, a short-eared owl would shake its feathers and turn into a fluff ball.
Short-eared owls are not particularly vocal birds. On my second trip to Boundary Bay, I witnessed their call for the first time—a mix between a screeching hawk and a barking dog.
I only saw a short-eared owl with prey once and, unfortunately, it was hidden behind long grass. Though, by standing on the tips of my toes, I managed to get the shot below.