This photo of a Great Gray Owl proves that baiting owls is unnecessary to make terrific pictures.
Gallery member Ted Busby took the image on February 10, 2013, in Orleans, Ontario, along the Ottawa River, about 10 miles east of Canada’s capital, Ottawa. He shot the photo just as the owl lifted off after an unsuccessful plunge into the snow for a vole.
He used a Canon 1D Mark IV and a 500mm f4 L IS lens.
“The area along this stretch of river had a number of Great Gray Owls settle for the winter,” Busby says. “I spent time on the river ice scanning the trees along the bank, going up and down the river between two or three locations where owls were very active. They were a few hundred yards apart from each other, so I divided my time between different owls, spending about an hour or so at each.”
“I would sit on the ice and wait as the owl would be scanning the ground for prey,” he adds. “Unfortunately, I was not always well situated to get a picture.” Busby saw the owl above catch a meal, but the bird was too far away and facing away from him. Later, he says he “got lucky” and photographed an owl clutching a vole.
Busby also watched as the Great Grays confronted one another. “There were occasions when two owls would get too close to each other’s preferred hunting area, and a challenge would ensue,” he says. “A rival owl would try to oust the resident owl from the area.”
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