Thursday, January 6, 2022



Happy New Year, everyone!  While I was out photographing the holiday season, the Snowy Owls snuck into town.  My Audubon bird alerts have reported sightings of four different Snowies so far this season. 


I spotted this female in an area where these owls typically hunt during the winter months while they’re here.  It would’ve been easy to miss her tucked as she was against the white trim versus perched on the roof edge, where she would have been easier to spot.

While it wasn’t really sunny, it was bright out and the owl she had her third eyelid up.  It’s a translucent nictitating membrane, which protects the bird’s eye from bright sunlight or injury when hunting prey.


 The Snowy swiveled her head and I caught sight of a big brown patch on the back of her head.  At first I thought it was an injury, but, as I zoomed in, I could see it was a big brown patch of coloring on her feathers.  I’d not seen that before, and it was indicative of the unique coloring patterns each owl has.


 She opened her eye a bit and I caught sight of that beautiful yellow eye.  “I see you out there with that long lens and the fuzzy white dog hanging out the window,” I guessed she was thinking.


 When she turned to face me again, the third eyelid was gone and her eyes were opened more, but just a bare slit.  Come on, girl, open them wide!


 And I was lucky, as she gave me a wider peek at those amazing yellow eyes.  It’s always a great experience to see these beautiful owls.  


 A few days later, I returned to the area and saw the same Snowy sitting atop a metal building.  I was sure it was her because of the same markings on the back of her head.


 She swiveled her head towards me and I caught sight of those striking yellow eyes.  Ohhhhh!


 The Snowy had begun to act a bit squirrelly.  Swiveling a lot.  Rising up.


 Fluffing out her feathers.  I was pretty sure she was going to fly.


 But before she did, she gave me another look at those yellow eyes wide open.  And did I catch her in flight?  No.  I realized I hadn’t turned my car off and that might create camera shake vibration in my images.  As I set my camera down to turn my car off, she took to the air.  DAMN!

NEW KNEE REPORT:  This coming Monday, January 10th, I’m getting a new right knee!  I’m looking forward to getting it done so I can be more active and walk better.  While I won’t be able to drive for a few weeks, I’ve prepared a few blogs ahead, plus I have a couple surprise guest photographers lined up.  I’ll stay in touch each week with an update on my progress.


  1. Great to see your photos documenting the arrival of Snowy Owls in Traverse City, Karen! Jackie and I wish a very successful surgery and a speedy recovery!

  2. Thanks, Jan. Hope you see some Snowy Owls in your area soon too.