Pygmy Owls in the Park, Winter 2015

(My blog is a little late this month as I was off enjoying the warmth of the Mexican sun…and chasing all sorts of wondrous tropical birds too!)TH1D2870mask-fb-crop

This winter Calgarian birders, and local wildlife appreciators in general, have been treated to the presence of a pair of Northern Pygmy Owls who appear to have taken up residence (at least for the moment) in Fish Creek Provincial Park, located within the city limits.TH7D7311d&b-fb


Adopting a defensive posture as a raven cruised by.


Emerging from a tree hole after caching a vole


All the voles in these shots are different…a really prolific hunter!

TH1D2810d&b-crop-fb TH1D2477-fb These owls caused quite a stir in the local birding community and Fish Creek was quite the hotspot for birder for several weekends. I went down for two weekends in January and had a great time watching the owls hunt (very successfully, on the local vole population), rest and generally go about their business while at the same time enjoying the company of fellow birders (and park-goers in general) as thrilled as I was to watch the Pygmies in action. The vast majority of the time the owls were high up at the top of tall trees, but occasionally coming down to lower limbs when they wanted to hunt.TH1D3259merge-fb TH1D3136d&b-fb TH1D3210d&b-mask-fb2-final TH1D2347d&bv2-fb

The behaviour of all was very respectful in my humble opinion, and only once did I see someone unknowingly encroach ‘too close’ and that was a passer-by trying to get a close-up with their cell-phone!

The typical size birder & photog crowd I saw over the two weekends.

The typical size birder & photog crowd I saw over the two weekends.

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All in all, it was a wonderful experience for me personally and I hope you enjoy the shots I’m sharing here.TH7D7181d&b-fb



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6 Responses to Pygmy Owls in the Park, Winter 2015

  1. Tim Hopwood says:

    Thanks so much, Mary! It’s great to be able to share some of the great fun I have while I’m out birding 🙂

  2. Mary says:

    I so enjoyed these photos – thanks very much.
    You bring a lot of joy to many people.

  3. Tim Hopwood says:

    Hi AJ – thanks you! Yes, I believe the owls are still there.

  4. A.J. says:

    Great photos! Do you think the Pygmy Owl is still there?

  5. Tim Hopwood says:

    Thanks, Charlotte :). I gather from local birders that these owls staying for this period of time in this location is not a common occurrence so if you can get down to see them I’d strongly encourage you to do so!

  6. Absolutely stunning photos, Tim! I have to get down to Calgary one day!