Sunday, October 23, 2011

The soulful eyes of a Barred Owl...

...this morning Matty and I had the rare opportunity of photographing a few of the world's most beautiful and interesting birds of prey. Being able to stand within arm's reach of these amazing predators and see the detail in their ever-vigilant eyes, or the pattern and flow of their camouflaging plumage, or the curve and strength in their efficient talons stirs emotion—especially when you know the only reason you can stand so close to them is because they have been injured (usually do to human interaction) and can no longer fly free. My friend, Rick Hartigan of Nature Trek Photo Safaris, who is also the organizer of the Ohio Valley Camera Club, invited us to a special meetup he put together with Raptor, Inc. to photograph and study these gorgeous raptors...

With large and dark eyes, a Barred Owl's soulful gaze catches our hearts...

...and even though many say anthropomorphizing is egotistic and fantastical (a product of a human's attempt to see the world through his own thoughts and feelings), would any other word work here?

...because even if this Barred Owl is not "soulful" (we have no idea what her thoughts are), we react with a soulful intensity when we look into her eyes, so what does it matter?

She has the ability to produce great, deep and wise emotions within us, and for that I am thankful...


Priscilla, the Barred Owl...

Priscilla was admitted to RAPTOR, Inc. back in 2007. She was a victim of a car strike, sustaining a left wing fracture at the elbow. Most of the birds that flow through RAPTOR are treated, rehabbed, and released back into nature, but some can never heal from their injuries and stay on as permanent residents and working birds. RAPTOR, Inc. is a non-profit organization committed to the preservation of birds of prey. RAPTOR stand for the Regional Association for the Protection and Treatment of Raptors. Members of RAPTOR, Inc. rehabilitate and care for injured birds of prey until they can be released back into the wild. If you're a Cincinnati birder, you probably already know that Susan Williams of Susan Gets Native is the Education Program Director at RAPTOR, Inc. Click here to see all of her posts and inside scoops on the permanent residents and working birds at RAPTOR. Click here for RAPTOR, Inc.'s HackBack newsletter and to learn how to donate to the organization, volunteer, or sponsor a banded raptor.

Thanks to Rick for inviting Matty and me to the shoot--we had so much fun, and thanks to Mark and Cindy Alverson for showing us the birds. I LOVED every minute--even when Earl the Vulture yacked up his rat! I'll have lots more posts this week of the amazing birds at RAPTOR...

26 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

i love these birds. and, yes, you've captured her soulfulness perfectly. i'm lucky to have a few around here in the wild, and this summer 2 became regulars around the deck and pond. :)

KaHolly said...

Just magnificent. What an opportunity!

KAT said...

lovely and wonderful and fabulous !!!
Thanks for sharing these and all yiour interesting info

- KAT -

Lois Evensen said...

Such a beauty, Kelly. Wonderful images.

Andrea said...

Hi!I'm new on this blog.
It's difficult for me to say how much I like this wonderful post.
Perfect shots from a beautiful and perfect Creature.
Thank you for sharing this your great experience.

Bye

Rick said...

Kelly,
It was a pleasure to host you and your son and I hope you feel welcome to come and join us on any other events that we plan. As far as I'm concerned, you always have a special invite. Just let me know.
Also, I know you are humble about your photographic skills, but, as far as I am concerned, you "got it goin' on". Just my considered opinion.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Barred Owls are my favorite of all Owls! These images are really amazing!

Bob Bushell said...

Brilliant pictures. The raptors are wonderful at the things they do, never must we criticize them for killing something else, because that is a way of nature.

Janice K said...

Wow! She is a beauty...Your pictures are awesome!

Kay said...

Wow! What a great opportunity--and you are such a good photographer (with an artist's eye) that you were able to take full advantage. I like the eyes but even more so the feathers, focused so precisely in your wonderful photos.mipam Thanks for sharing.
Kay

Elva Paulson said...

I get goose-bumps looking at your barred owl. Lovely.

Guy said...

Hi Kelly

You got some lovely shots of a beautiful bird. I really enjoyed the way you framed the owl, you conveyed a lot of the character and mystery of owls.

Just great.

Guy

Pam Johnson Brickell said...

Fantastic, Kelly! The clarity of your images takes my breath.

Banjo52 said...

These photos are stunning. It's as if there's a competition between eyes and feathers (or soul??) for grand stunning-ness prize. What an animal.

I'm familiar with the site at Susan Gets Native--a good education there as well as here. Glad somebody's doing this important work.

Caroline said...

And thank you for posting your amazing pics here Kelly! What a beautiful owl.

dAwN said...

Beautiful shots!

Gillian Olson said...

Beautiful pictures, what a lovely bird.

Elaine said...

You had a wonderful opportunity and captured some fantastic photos. Nice work!

Sue said...

Such beautiful images--it's so nice to be able to see these marvelous creatures "up close' like this.

Salvador Recio Urbano said...

Hola compañera, que preciosidad de fotos, unos primeros planos geniales, te invito a ver mi última entrada a ver que te parece. Un saludo.

Laure Ferlita said...

I see paintings......beautiful shots as always, Kelly! Such amazing creatures to see up close. And I'm so thankful for the folks who take the time to care and rehab these gorgeous birds.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Beautiful photos of a beautiful girl. I like the point you made about the reactions the animals/birds stir in us.

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

You captured this one so well, I adore owls. Sad that it will never fly but good to know its taken care of.

Montanagirl said...

Just gorgeous shots of a beautiful bird. I've never seen in the wild.

Kelly said...

...thank you for the kind words, everyone. I'm so glad I was able to go to this show and photo shoot. These birds are amazing, and the people who work with them are amazing too. In the wild, I'd never be able to get so close to a bird like this (although I'd much rather this owl be healthy and out in the wild...).

Mary said...

Owls are so beautiful! These photos are wonderful. What a great opportunity to see birds we seldom see so close.