A letter of gratitude to the Short-eared Owls of Alberta

By January 15, 2016Wildlife Blog

Dear short-eared owls,

I’d like the thank you for providing endless entertainment for myself, fellow photographers, birders, wildlife lovers and basically anyone who has ever been blessed with the chance to see you.

SEOFaceOwls in general are amazingly beautiful, mystical and wise. But you in particular, my short-eared friend, carry a whole lot of ‘owlness’ in a relatively small package.

The way you fly – erratically changing your trajectory on a dime, spiraling through the air like an out of control airplane – seems to defy the laws of aerodynamics.

Your eyes, perpetually dilated pools of black embedded in vibrant yellow discs,  generate a sense of intrigue and wonder.

That heart-shaped face balances your ferociousness as a hunter with the gentleness of your gaze.

My  first close-up encounter with your kind, in March 2013, was  the subject of my very first blog post: My Quest for the Short-eared Owl. I watched as you squinted your eyes and raised a talon, the ‘come hither’ gesture beckoned me into your world.

Short Eared Owl - SE of Calgary, AB

I have had so many more great encounters since then…

A slight head tilt revealed your intense curiosity as my friend Turbo (Turbo track and tour) and I observed you on a fence post in December, 2013

Short Eared Owl - SE of Calgary, AB

Your hardiness and adaptability in harsh Alberta winters was evident when Turbo and I found you nestled in the grass, your feathers decorated by the frost, a by-product of -40C temperature in March 2014.

Short Eared Owl - Frank Lake, AB

Your alertness and hunting abilities were obvious when my friend Jerri and I watched you at sunset, hop on to your tip toes, fly into the field, pluck up a mouse, come back to the post and devour it right in front of us in April 2014.

Short-eared Owls



Your competitive drive and territorialism was demonstrated during my most recent encounter, when I watched you challenge your ‘brother’ on a nearby post in January 2016.

SEOSwoopSo thank you short eared owls of Alberta! Every chance I get to observe and photograph you is a gift and I hope to have many more.


Kerri Martin

Until next time, continue loving life and all thing wild! 🙂


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  • Ron burnett says:

    I love owls and the way you present their stealth and majestic beauty. I have a few shots of them and other creatures around calgary. Yours are stunning

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