Finding Owls


This week’s photo, taken July 20, 2013 in Discovery Park in Seattle, WA, features a BARRED OWL.

Finding an owl can be a monumental challenge. At night, you might get lucky and hear one, but if you were to get your eyes on an owl after dark, most of the time you would be looking at a shadowy figure without much detail.

During the day, owls perch motionless deep in a dark forest, blending in amazingly well with the texture and color of the trees, and making it next to impossible for us to spot them. Few owls vocalize during daylight hours, so it seldom helps to listen for them at that time. It’s a great idea, however, to use your ears to notice the noisy response of other bird species when they locate a creature of the night. When you hear birds freaking out, stop and look. Last Saturday morning, as I got out of my car at Discovery Park, I heard two STELLER’S JAYS frantically squawking non-stop. Within a minute, they led me to a BARRED OWL sitting on a tree branch.

One more tip. Often in life, we fail to get what we actively seek. For example, you probably won’t fall asleep if you try to fall asleep. So, the next time you are strolling your neighborhood park in hopes of an owl sighting, you might increase your chances of spotting one if you quietly repeat the following mantra:

“I am not looking for owls.”

“I am not looking for owls.”

“I am not looking for owls.”


About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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7 Responses to Finding Owls

  1. Mary Friestedt says:

    Cute, Joe. Very cute. I will remember this good advise.

    :)) mary

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Jeff Citron says:

    Excellent mantra, my friend!


  3. Freda Papoff says:

    I wish we had used that mantra on those nights we spent at The Ranch unsuccessfully looking for owls! Enjoy you postings!

    Sent from my iPad

  4. Lynda Kuebler says:

    My favorite Bird 🙂 In Tucson, a Dad, Mom, and young one landed on my roof at about 5:30am. They were looking for somewhere to sleep, I guess. I heard them and went out to look and was so surprised. They looked at me, with those wonderful eyes, and flew up into 2 big trees and stayed there most of the day!! I was able to take photos and will always remember that. They were the horned owls (according to books’ photos). Thanks for sharing, Lynda

  5. Marlene Prendergast says:

    Joe, Neat picture. I had a friend who was up at WidbeyWidbey Island at a writer’s conference a few years ago. A barred owl (described as having a huge wing span) followed her to and fro from her cabin to the main hall. He was swooping at her. She was scared to death. Only time I have heard about a barred owl.

    Marlene Prendergast

  6. Gary Grantham says:


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