There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Short-eared Owl

Asio flammeus

Medium-sized owl
Large, round head
Prominent facial disc
Yellow eyes
Black around eyes
Streaked upperparts
Light below with streaked upper breast
Short ear tufts, seldom visible
Long wings with dark patch near wrist
Barred tail

Listen to its call.

A number of these owls were hanging around Boundary Bay on the weekend, on the opposite side of the path from the Snowy Owls. Unlike yesterday's bird, this one was quite active, frequently leaving its perch to swoop down on unsuspecting prey.
I always thought the expression 'to have eyes in the back of your head' was figurative but owls literally are able to see what is going on behind them. How cool is that?

 Learn more about the Short-eared Owl.

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