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Are You An Owl?

On my photography walks, I don't listen to music. I find birds by looking and listening. I scan for shapes (like a hawk sitting silently on a branch) and movement (the flitting of tiny birds in the brush). And every time I pass a tree with holes in it, I look to see if perhaps an owl lives there. Owls, for me, are one of the hardest birds to find. In addition to being primarily nocturnal hunters, they are also very still when perched, and they have amazing natural camouflage.

Yesterday, I passed a hole on a familiar trail where I have seen a screech owl in the past. I looked as closely as I could (from a safe and respectful distance, my goal is to never disturb or pressure wildlife). There was movement inside, I could just make out something in there. Was it an owl? I paused, using my telephoto lens for a closer view, but it was dark in the hole and hard to see. Then, after a few minutes, a head popped up. Hello, Carolina Wren! You're not an owl!

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