You have to be patient when photographing owls…

Wow! Wildlife photographer, Doug Giles, has snapped pics of nine different species of owls in the Kamloops area: Barred, Short-eared, Great Horned, Long-eared, Burrowing, Pygmy, Great grey, Northern Hawk and Snowy. How does he do it?

The fine feathers on a Great Grey owl’s face, photo by Doug Giles

“You have to be patient when photographing owls. They can be hard to spot as their colouring allows them to blend into their surroundings. They are more easy to spot during the winter months when the leaves are off the deciduous trees, but unless they move or fly you can drive or walk right by them without seeing them. As many wildlife photographers say of their photos, ‘right place, right time’, which applies to most of my owl photos.

Watching and waiting, Northern Hawk owl, photo by Doug Giles

The outdoor experience is great. I love watching them hunt and how very silent they are when they fly. I love watching them dive down for a vole, miss the attempt, return to their perch, then dive down again and be successful. They fly back to their perch and eat. It is truly amazing to watch them dive into the snow that is over a foot deep and come up with a vole. They have exceptional hearing which allows them to hear their prey under the snow and in tall grasses, and exceptional sight where they can pick out the slightest of movement.

 

Short-eared owl fluffing its feathers before hunting, photo by Doug Giles

Photographing owls means many hours of driving local roads and walking areas where they may be located. Most of the owls prefer forested areas bordering open grasslands, with the Short-eared, Burrowing and Snowy owls preferring the open grasslands, and the Barred owl preferring forested areas. The Short-eared, Great Grey, Pygmy and Northern Hawk owls can be found hunting during the day while the Burrowing owl sits at his burrow during the day. The Barred, Great Horned and Long-eared owls hunt after sunset thus they are hard to find and photograph as they prefer to roost in secluded and dark areas.” – Doug Giles 

Northern Hawk owl watching and listening for prey, photo by Doug Giles

Doug is a wildlife photographer in Kamloops and the owner at DWG Photography and Framing. He makes custom frames built mostly out of barn wood and has kindly donated many photos to charities and fundraisers in the Kamloops area.

Fun fact: The Burrowing owl was extinct in our area but has been reintroduced by the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society of BC and the BC Wildlife Park!