Jan 25 2011

Well Equipped

Published by at 7:19 am under Beyond Bounds,Birds of Prey


To us a winter field looks empty but there’s food under the snow if you can hear it.

This snowy owl is standing on prey in Kingston, Ontario, caught in the act by Kim Steininger.

Kingston is known for the large number of snowy owls who spend the winter there — but not this year.  Kim and Paul found only one.

As Kim writes, “Paul and I went up there hoping to photograph Snowy Owls but we were only able to find one and we weren’t able to find her every day so we didn’t get many shots.  One day she was hanging out on the ground about a football field away from us.  After a couple hours of waiting for her to do something she flew about 40 feet away from us and caught a vole!!!  We were floored!”

Waiting for a great shot like this has got to be an incredibly cold endeavor.  I’m in awe of photographers and birders who can do it.

But it’s all a matter of preparation.  Snowy owls are well equipped to hunt under harsh conditions with their downy insulation and excellent hearing (they can hear voles moving under the snow!).  If I want to see snowy owls doing exciting things, I have to be well equipped too.

Or to put it another way… 

“There is no such thing as bad weather; it’s inappropriate gear.”
– words of wisdom from a Tlingit woman in Seward Bay, Alaska, thanks to Dick Martin.

(photo by Kim Steininger)

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Well Equipped”

  1. kellyon 25 Jan 2011 at 12:22 pm

    speaking of approrpriate winter apparel, i am lacking in the handwear category right now. my favorite miitens are giving out. anyone have any suggestions for warm, reasonably priced mitts okay for birding?

  2. Sue Barthon 26 Jan 2011 at 9:52 am

    Great photo and great advice. I find myself sticking indoors and trying to entice birds close to the windows for me to grab any pictures because it’s difficult to endure the cold outdoors. You’re right, though – preparation and proper attire is the key to great photos!

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