Barred Owl, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada by Barbara Levy.

Picture Story

One sunny afternoon this past September, I decided to sit on our deck and watch our sweet Anna’s hummingbirds while I soaked up the heavenly warmth. I told myself that I wasn’t going to try to grab my favourite — but heavy — 300 mm telephoto lens as I had a bad case of tendinitis, but finally, I gave in and took a few photos of one of our male hummers whose iridescent plumage against a chartreuse backdrop was just too hard to resist.

After a couple of hours, I took a little stroll around our backyard and a tiny wren led me to our woodsheds where something big and white perched a few meters above me in our giant fir behind an arbutus tree. When I looked through my big lens, I realized it was a Barred owl. These owls are usually active at night and I’ve only seen them on the rare occasion during the day, so this was a great surprise to see one in the middle of the afternoon! And this friendly owl, who I suspect was female as she was quite large (females are up to a third larger than males), let me take quite a few photographs before she flew off. And even though there is a fine branch in front of her face, you can see the light in that one eye which, for me, really shows her curious expression. And I love the way she’s leaning over to peer at the strange photographer, who is standing below her in awe.

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