Short-Eared Owl

Photo of the Year 2019
For the last blog of the year, I post my favourite image I made over the last 365 days. It’s a tough decision, but this past year the winner was pretty obvious right from the start of the New Year.
For two weeks in January we had a visitor at our property in Port Maitland; a short-eared owl! This species is of special interest as it is both uncommon and threatened as a species in Nova Scotia. Short-eared owls breed in the Province, but do not normally stay here in the winter, so seeing this one in our yard in January was interesting. Habitat loss and climate warming are causing changes for this species, so seeing a short-eared owl is at any time an occasion to take note. This particular bird hung around our place for a couple of days, and then, as is their want, flew off and we didn’t see it again.
Short-eared owls are not “territorial” in that they kind of roam around and find hunting grounds wherever they can, looking for mice and other small mammals and occasionally birds. This owl posed for me on the post near our bird feeding station, so it may have been looking for prey of any kind, but we didn’t witness it catching anything.
A pretty bird, and one of the few owls you’ll commonly see in daylight, the image is the one I’ve chosen as my favourite – both because it proved to be quite photogenic, but also due to the symbolism of a bird impacted by climate change, which is certainly the key issue for 2019 and beyond.
Here’s to a wonderful New Year and hopefully many more special photos to be had in 2020!