Thursday, September 13, 2012

Búho Manchado

Forgive me if that didn't exactly roll off your tongue when you tried to pronounce it out loud just now.  But the bird you are about to see is of the Mexican variety.  If the title didn't already give it away, here are a few more clues.  It's large, nocturnal, has spots, is listed as "threatened" in the U.S. and Mexico, and endangered in Canada.  Its familia in the Pacific Northwest has been the subject of a heated debate over the years.  You guessed it, the Spotted Owl!  Shhhh, not so loud.  You might disturb it.

Seriously though, please always be on your best behavior around all birds, especially owls.  To quote the ABA Code of Ethics, "To avoid stressing birds or exposing them to danger, exercise restraint and caution during observation, photography, sound recording, or filming."
Upper Miller Canyon, Huachuca Mountains, Southeast Arizona (photo courtesy Geniece Baer)
I went ahead of Gaby and Geniece on the trail in search of the owls, one adult and one juvenile.  I came around a bend and spotted the pink ribbon marking where they had last been seen.  I approached very quietly, looked up and off the trail.  There it was!
My jaw dropped, WOW.

I've never been so quiet and turtle-like around a bird.  I snapped this photo and withdrew from its sanctuary to fetch my companions.  Upon our return, we instantly became mesmerized by this magical bird.  Look at those fluffy feathers, and those spots!  I was thankful the ladies followed my explicit directions on owl etiquette.  It's a good thing because it would have been a long walk home.

We stood there quietly observing for a while.  All of a sudden it started moving.  Not slight movements, but stretching and preening!
Our faces must have looked like a kid's on Christmas morning after seeing the gifts under the tree for the first time.  But in this case our gift was in the tree.
At this point Geniece mouthed, "AWESOME!"
"I'm awake now."
As I inched my way up the trail to look at the second owl, Gaby caught my attention and pointed up.  It was a photo-op emergency!  Now behind the first owl, I was in perfect position for its next pose.
Don't try this at home.
How fun is that?  I must have used a whole deck of dumb-luck cards on this bird, but it was well worth it.
"¡Adiós amigos!"
Thank you to the Beatty's for making these amazing birds easy to find and enjoy!

CERange Map for Spotted Owl
- Jeremy Medina


  1. Fantasticas capturas de este bonito buho.Saludos

  2. Beautiful photos!! What a magnificent bird to observe!

  3. Me ha encantado.
    Saludos desde Sacramento, CA

  4. Super Jeremy! Great shots and great bird!

  5. How amazing and so much fun to read! I can feel your joy in your words! I have never seen one of these. maybe now that I am back in AZ I can finally find one! Want to help?

  6. Oh my goodness, what a fabulous find! I could really feel your excitement while reading the wonderful narrative. Spectacular photographs of these gorgeous owls! An experience I am sure you will never forget.

  7. Jeremy, looks like you made it up the same washed-out draw we did a couple weeks ago to see the Spotted Owl. Very cool!

    Did you get to see the Elf Owls there too?