I had the privilege of photographing the short-eared owl on Saturday in Cades Cove, Tennessee. Previously, I came up short after waiting for hours. When he finally came, it was too dark to photograph. But I learned valuable information that night.
My family always teases me about talking to people, but I am an extrovert and love doing so. The key fact is when people talk, they sometimes share valuable information. The night I waited to find the owl; I met a birder named Jennifer. Man did she know her birds!
She knew of the upcoming days of rain and said the owl doesn’t eat when it rains. She mentioned he will be hungry when it stops raining and my best bet was to come right after it rained.
Knowing this new information, my friend Jan and I searched for the owl only a few minutes when the rain was tapering off. We left for a short while, and it finally stopped raining. Jennifer was right, he was hungry and ready to eat.
We had an hour and fifteen minutes with him all by ourselves. Maybe no one else knew the same information.
It was magical seeing him soar and dart through the open field. Although I have to admit, I did not get to enjoy him as I was so focused on photographing him. Short-eared owls are about the size of a crow, so I had a difficult time focusing on him when he was deep in the field.
I had already prayed and asked the Lord to show me or bring to me what He wanted me to photograph. He answered that prayer, so my next one was a little more specific. “Lord, can you please have him fly closer?” Several times he flew close, once he even flew not far over our heads. He also perched on nearby trees.
Cades Cove is now closed until March 1st while work is being done on the tunnel leading to the Cove. The short-eared owl only comes to the Cove in the winter months. I’m not sure I will see him again when it re-opens. I sure hope so!!
Aren’t his eyes amazing?