Great Horned Owl leaving the pine at sunset, Pancho Villa State Park, Columbus NM, February 26, 2015

Buzz Like a Bee

Great Horned Owl, Pancho Villa State Park, Columbus NM

February 26, 2015

How to buzz an owl

Let me set the scene. It's late afternoon here at Pancho Villa, at the Great Horned Owls' day roost in the pine at the south end of the park.

The wind has kicked up. The boughs are a-wavin' and the owls are a-rockin' and a-rollin'. And this photographer is a-frustrated.

The sun sets. The owls come to life. Hoot. Prepare to fly out for the night.

This photographer sets up to catch the fly-out. Takes a guess at the owls probable trajectory from the pine. Sets the camera to aperture priority with a wide open lens and a high ISO for the fastest shutter speed practical in this failing light. And waits. And waits.

The light - it's going fast... Finally, momma owl launches off her perch. Snap, snap, snap (at 1/100 second as it turns out).

Buzz.