Long-eared owl chick, Diessen, the Netherlands by Marta Demarteau

Picture Story

A fluffy, long-eared owl chick (Asio otus) inspects its surroundings from a tree. The bird is 5-6 weeks old, and is able to fly short distances. This portrait was taken between the branches of a big pine tree, where two long-eared owls were sitting low in the shadows in my hometown Diessen, the Netherlands. I kept distance to them to keep them safe. I love the contrast of the bright orange eye against the dark green background (as well as the bokeh). The chicks grow up really fast. In only a few weeks time they can fly quite well. When they fall down from the nest, they are able to climb vertically with a lot of speed, using their sharp claws on the bark. Long-eared owls prefer to live in the woods, bordering open farmlands, where they can hunt on rodents – mostly voles. In the Netherlands they can sometimes be found roosting in big groups, even within a residential area.

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