Soul-Piercing Eyes


So here I was, sitting under dogs and blankets, working on wedding photography marketing and a profile for the national wedding blog Grey Likes Weddings when suddenly I see a brown flash go past the window and land on the roof.

I know what you’re thinking…it must be the owl Kelley has been talking about the last couple days.

Not yet.

The turkeys really group up and get desperate in the winter, forgoing any nervousness and instincts about humans and make their way underneath bird feeders to plumage any overspills.

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And so I took a break from computer work, opened up the window and hung out of it to look for some photo ops. The dogs barked, chaos ensued, and turkeys that were reluctant to trudge through the deep snow and leave the feeder suddenly flushed into nearby trees.

I thought they flew because of the commotion with the dogs. Well, and me hanging out the window with a camera.

But then after watching the way they were acting in the trees it became clear something else was going on. They were acting very nervous, tom/jakes were puffing up and making themselves look bigger than they actually are. They wouldn’t come down out of the trees and I couldn’t figure out what was going on.

Then I lowered the camera from my face and saw the beautiful Barred Owl, staring at me with those soul-piercing eyes, in the maple tree to my left. It all made sense.

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click images to enlarge | Barred Owl

It wasn’t the dogs and myself that got the turkeys all bothered, it was a bird of prey that came in with silent stealth. Kelley Elizabeth Photography-DSC_8762

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The image above is my favorite from the ones I made during my encounter. I’m going to have it printed for my wall.

If you’ve never heard the caterwauling of Barred Owls, check out Cornell’s recordings. It’s mesmerizing to hear in the erie night swamp.
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She departed the maple branch that is nearest the bird feeders and flew into a gnarly white pine. Kelley Elizabeth Photography-DSC_8804

Then she promptly went to sleep. I waited…Kelley Elizabeth Photography-DSC_8844

And I waited…Kelley Elizabeth Photography-DSC_8870

… until darkness completely enveloped her and I could only barely make her out in the pine tree.
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When light broke the next morning she was gone.

Despite the bitter cold and unrelenting depths of snow, I hope that you find ways to encounter wild things and be privy to ancient, natural behaviors as they reveal themselves to you this weekend. I learned something new, I didn’t know turkeys feared birds of prey and reacted the way they did before this encounter.

TGIF and happy weekend’ing, friends.


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