Barred Owl: One Little Victory

“Celebrate the moment | As it turns into one more | Another chance at victory | Another chance to score” ~ Rush, “One Little Victory”

Being Inspired By Others

There’s no way that anyone could have known what a silly blog post started. Early this summer, WingTrip Blog put us on high alert for our yard’s resident barred owls. His post’s photos, narrative, and video was just what we needed to shoot one of our own — with a camera.

brendan_mcgarry_150608_00038The photo isn’t mine. It is the property of Brendan McGarry, so poignantly captured that I relegated is as the background image on my tablet. I have carried his inquisitive looking barred owl image with me ever since, looking at it several times a day as I dream and wish to have one of my very own.

I was inspired, you could say. He couldn’t possibly have known this; I’ve been off blogging pretty much since that day several weeks back. But the video he recorded of chicks napping and calling between snoozes stuck with the kids and I in the weeks ahead. Good bloggers make an impact like that; it’s why I am still with WordPress.

We are no strangers to the Barred Owl. We hear them through open windows at night. We’ve heard several pairs setting up territories as we tent camped by our creek. We listened as their chicks called for dinner, hidden somewhere in the canopy across the creek, with some cloaked large thing quietly swooping from one tree branch to another, always just out of our sight.

Barred Owls can be stealthy that way, which is why they are such successful predators. It’s the collection of all the ‘near misses’ that have only strengthened my resolve to see one, not just hear it. As a birder, it’s my goal to collect every one, the collection enhanced when a nature-acquired image results.

This constant game of nature hide-and-seek — collect-and-check, chase-and-miss — helps the Dog Days of Summer from taking me down. Like chess or scrabble my brain, eyes and ears are kept at their sharpest when I’m at it.

The Capture

Scott called me in from the family room to tell me that something big was in the tree by the swing; he saw it perch from the inside with his incredible x-ray vision. Danggit, if that kid’s a birding super-hero. I verified with binoculars that it was not a hawk of some kind, and knew it had to be our Barred Owl.

I sprinted to get the long lens.

Approaching the figure slowly from underneath the pecan branch, I could see him hiding in the leaves: a barred owl! I had already set exposure on the way out, moving an large, A/C-cooled piece of glass to instant high humidity means only one thing: lens fogging. I hoped for the best.

Barred Owl

In The Canopy

Camera up to my face, both eyes open like American Sniper, I knew he saw me. I didn’t want him to fly off just yet so thought quick, and Who who who WHOOOooo I sang to him softly.

Barred Owl

Hey, you don’t look like an owl…

Dead-locked, eye to lens, I rattled off a few shots; he didn’t seem to mind. The sun was low and bright, and not wanting to move the camera from my face, I wasn’t sure how the images were processing. I had to rely on prior knowledge. It was only when took the lens down to wipe the fog, he moved on. Bye little guy…and thank you.

Barred Owl

Mom, it looks just like your tablet!

Well, maybe not quite as good, my dear, there’s the color, and the fog, and the… What was I saying? From another perspective, my shot is better — it’s mine. I’ll keep Garry’s on the tablet background, but for now (maybe for a while longer) I’ve got my first shot of a Barred Owl for the album.

victory dance

Rock Out!

And for your listening pleasure, the victory song! It’s pretty crunchy, but it sets the mood for sure.

A certain measure of innocence
Willing to appear naive
A certain degree of imagination
A measure of make-believe

A certain degree of surrender
To the forces of light and heat
A shot of satisfaction
In a willingness to risk defeat

Celebrate the moment
As it turns into one more
Another chance at victory
Another chance to score
The measure of the moment
In a difference of degree
Just one little victory
A spirit breaking free
One little victory
The greatest act can be
One little victory

A certain measure of righteousness
A certain amount of force
A certain degree of determination
Daring on a different course

A certain amount of resistance
To the forces of the light and love
A certain measure of tolerance
A willingness to rise above

One Little Victory, from Rush’s (Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart, and Geddy Lee) 2007 comeback album, Vapor Trails. The whole DirtNKids rock out to it whenever we are out birding; it’s worth every penny spent on it. They remain to be a favorite for music after 40 years.

Here’s another lucky post from the past:
Angie wishes up a Bald Eagle.

Thank you, Brendan, for your inspiration!

What little victory have you accomplished
this summer?

10 thoughts on “Barred Owl: One Little Victory

  1. Great post Shannon. Photographing an owl can be nearly impossible, but your tenacity paid off. And oh how very exciting to see so much of him, enjoy him, have him so close to your home. And you got a good photo too; sure windows/fog are part of it, but I’d say that’s pretty good. Wonderful! 😀


    1. I know what you mean. Glad you came by. 😀

      Just yesterday, my youngest son came face to face with one (probably the same one) out back. He just stood very still as they eye-balled each other on the same plane for a good long while. He’s got the nature knack!!


    1. Oh, hey, Judy! Nice to see you here. The fog is the downside of the heat. I do try to acclimate it for several minutes (by bringing it with me when I go out back to sit), but the birds are almost never there when I have a camera around my neck. They seem to know…


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