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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Snowy Owls Come To The Northwest

In October 2012 I decided to paint white owls.  Although, Snowy Owls are not indigenous to Oregon, I thought a white owl would allow for beautiful play with color.  I originally was thinking of the Snowy Owl, but after doing research I thought the white Barred Owl would be more fitting.  The Barred Owl looks more like a traditional owl with the distinguished tufts around the eyes.  Also, I didn't think I would like the yellow eyes of a Snowy Owl in a painting.

Quiet Observers, 30 x 30
Available in Print

I joke that I must be a powerful manifester, because two days after finishing the owl painting I saw an owl about 20 feet away sitting up on a tree branch while walking my dog, Milo.  The dog actually noticed it first, stopping and looking up at it, I stopped to see what he was looking at.  I didn't have my camera for that one, but that was the only owl I had ever seen in the wild.

Then in January, I got word that Snowy Owls were spotted at Fort Stevens State Park, only 20 minutes from Astoria.  I grabbed my significant other and raced out there as fast as I could, to my amazement there were two hanging out just were he had seen them a few days before.  They were easily spotted with their magnificent white feathers, resting in plain daylight on logs.  I was in owl heaven, I took my telephoto lens (a mere disposable camera to the heavy duty, National Geographic lenses of my fellow on lookers), and got the best shots I could. 

Snowy Owl visits Oregon from the Arctic.

Snowy Owls like coastal landscapes.

I went home and went straight to Wikipedia, to find out why these beautiful creatures came to Oregon for the winter.  Apparently they are fairly nomadic and are hungry.  They will fly further south when food is in demand, this is determined by changes in their population and the boom and bust cycle of lemmings, which is their main food source.  They like open spaces that mimic the tundra, where they perch above and wait for their meal to pass by.  These two are either females or fledglings, the males are pure white.  

With my manifestation prowess, my friends said I should try a mermaid, a unicorn or a winning lottery ticket.  Hmmm.... that is definitely something to think about.

I went back the next day and got this shot to add to my Snowy Owl portfolio.

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