I was beginning to wonder if I was going to photograph any owls this year. Then I read that the Wildlife Recovery Association was doing an owl presentation at the Boardman River Nature Center. I jumped at the chance to see some owls and learn about their habitats. All the owls that the organization brought had been injured and were now living their lives at the sanctuary.
The first owl was a small, reddish-brown Eastern Screech Owl. Its big, yellow eyes are striking! This owl is stocky, and has a large head with no neck.
Here is another Eastern Screech Owl, but in the gray variety. The ear tufts on this owl type are almost always raised.
This owl's restlessness was a signal that it was ready to return to the safety of its cage. Notice the handler is wearing thick gloves for protection from the owl's serious claws.
Oh, my. This next owl was such a cutie. It was a pint-sized (literally) Saw-Whet Owl. It is a very shy owl and prefers a dense habitat. To accommodate this owl's need for privacy, the handlers built a garment with its own protective hollow.
The Saw-Whet's shyness was obvious as it didn't look right at people, instead keeping its eyes down-turned.
I was nearly duped into its sweetness; that is until I noticed its hooked beak, which it uses to grip and tear its prey.
Then came the largest owl, and my favorite, the Barred Owl. When I lived in Northport, I would often hear Barred Owls calling to each other with their distinctive and recognizable call: Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?
This beautiful bird gets its name from the striped bars that cover its body. It's unique from many other owls, in that it doesn't have ear tufts.
It's warm brown-black eyes and round head are somewhat deceiving at the sweetness of this owl, but, again, its beak is a reminder of the work these raptors do to survive in the wild. What an enjoyable time it was to see these owls close-up. Many thanks to the Wildlife Recovery Association for the work they do. If you'd like more information, their website is wildliferecovery.org.