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Nature Photography - Done Naturally

Snowy Owl

Bubo scandiacus

I loved the "magic" when I was a new birder. Seeing a species I'd never seen was such a rush. I also quickly learned that there some birds that were just simply iconic, almost legendary among birders.  One of those was the Snowy Owl.  It was my second winter of birding when I saw my first Snowy Owl, a white ghost that lifted off from a snowbank I was driving past, and quickly disappeared into the horizon.  Since that time, I've seen many Snowy Owls, including one very memorable winter where over 20 were hanging out in one small area near Lake Andes in South Dakota. However, despite seeing them a number of times, they've always maintained that "magical" status for me.

Most of the Snowy Owls I've seen have been in the central part of the state, but they are also occasionally found in our part of eastern South Dakota. In the winter of 2013/2014, one was consistently hanging out along the northwestern edge of Sioux Falls. Given the proximity, I of course had to try to photograph it. It's not often I go looking for an individual bird and actually find it, much less get photos of it. But luck was in my favor on this day in February of 2014, and I not only immediately found the owl, I was able to spend a good hour in close proximity to him as he hunted near an open field.  Of all the photos I took that day, this was my favorite, and is indeed one of my favorite photos of all time...capturing the Snowy Owl "mid-yawn".

Snowy Owl - Bubo scandiacus

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