After I spent weeks photographing a wild Snowy Owl in Providence through a zoom lens like a paparazzi, getting to “meet” this owl was, for me, like meeting a celebrity.
The stunning beauty seen here was found injured on November 26th at Quonset Airport. She was first taken to the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of RI for evaluation where x-rays revealed her right wing was broken in three places. As with all raptors in need of rehabilitation in RI, she was brought to Born to Be Wild Nature Center to receive top quality care. I’m sincerely grateful for the invitation to take portraits of this young female Snowy Owl at the end of her recuperation.
For insulation in the arctic, the Snowy Owl’s beak is entirely covered in feathers. Their large, yellow eyes provide excellent stereoscopic vision and depth perception:
Their fully feathered feet (also for insulation from cold) are my favorite part of the amazing Snowy Owl:
The heavily striped tail feathers indicate this is likely a female:
After six weeks of healing and being the best-fed Snowy Owl in the state, she was ready for release on a secluded beach on January 9th. Again, I’m grateful to be invited to photograph this private event with only five humans present.
After a few steps out of the carrier, she spread her wings, kicked up sand, and was free once again:
CBS News journalist, John Bently was there taking video of the event:
The smile and exhilaration on her face was undeniable:
She flew approximately 300 yards away — very impressive! Instead of following her for close-up photos, we made sure she was safe and wished her good luck on life’s uncertain journey. Thanks to Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of RI and Born to Be Wild Nature Center, this owl has a second chance.
Click play (to the right) to watch CBS National News coverage of snowy owl migration, including interviews with URI Professor Peter Patton, Vivian Maxson from Born to Be Wild Nature Center, and a few of my photos.
If you love snowy owls and enjoy seeing raptors in RI, please donate to BTBW online, it’s easy! They receive no federal or state funding and rely on generous donations from people like me and you. Please click here to donate: hawkri.org
Want more? CLICK HERE for my photo series of a wild Snowy Owl in Providence RI.