Instability in the balance of power at Ladybird Lane


Saturday evening we had a serious moment of instability in the balance of power here at Ladybird Lane. My wife shouted at me from the kitchen … “OMG … come see what’s in the back yard!” So, I came quickly to the kitchen to have a look. She said she saw this enormous grey blob fly into the spruce tree on the left of our backyard. And then, its head did a full 180 and looked at her eye-to-eye, beak-to-nose …  face-to-face.

What she saw was horrifying from a Romanian’s point of view. You may have thought Dracula was scary. Right? No, not so much. After all, Vlad was a fellow Romanian and seen as a hero. This grey blob in the spruce tree … it was an omen waiting to be issued. Fortunately, the grey blob flew farther back into the neighbor’s silver maple and sat there waiting for some unsuspecting rodent, maybe a squirrel or a chipmunk, to wonder out into the open grass. That would make for a tasty, though small, supper for this great raptor. To issue it’s omen of impending death, it seems, the owl must call outside your window. That never happened so we’re safe.

Anyway, when I saw it was a Great Horned Owl (I think. Please tell me if I’m wrong.) I ran back into the house to grab my camera and to get some pictures even though it the light was pretty low. I heard a heck of a noise and this other bird (it looked like some sort of hawk to me) flying around seemingly trying to scare off the owl. A couple of times it flew toward the owl then veered off at the last second. The owl wasn’t disturbed. Eventually the hawk landed in the tree and kept watch on the owl for a while then flew off. I guess the big grey blob won. If you have suggestions for photographing this sort of thing I’d be glad to hear them. I was using an 18-105mm and a 55-300mm Nikkor DX lens to try to get close to the owl. And, I am really just a snap-shotter. Whatever advice you can offer would be much appreciated. :-)

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About Mike
A resident of the “30 square miles surrounded by reality,” I spend most of my time teaching economics and statistics to undergraduate students. I enjoy, naturally, economics and business, but also science (I was once an astronomical observatory assistant), politics, photography, food, travel and sports. Madison has grown quite a bit since 1978 when Governor Lee Dreyfus made that remark. According to Wikipedia, Madison is 67.3 square miles of land and 16 square miles of water. Visit http://thisgotmyattention.wordpress.com/about/ for one of my favorite views of the isthmus. Or, why not come visit us! http://visitmadison.com

4 Responses to Instability in the balance of power at Ladybird Lane

  1. Lynn Patra says:

    What an incredible experience that must have been Mike! Yes, it’s a Great Horned Owl. I’ve had the opportunity to hold one on a glove before when I volunteered at a raptor rehabilitation center. Great photography job!

    • Mike says:

      Thanks, Lynn. Yes, I’d never seen such a bird so close and the hawk disputing his territory, too. That was cool to see. Anyway, right place, right time thanks for my wife and Nikon :-)

  2. cindy knoke says:

    gorgeous!!!

    • Mike says:

      Ya, the birds are just gorgeous and to see that hawk try to dispute the territory with the owl. I was surprised to see it.

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