Eastern screech owls are one of nature’s most glorious creations. Known for being masters of disguise, these nocturnal beings are commonly found in the woodlands and forests, along the eastern stretch of North America. Their uniquely patterned, gray plumage actually acts as a camouflage against larger predators. Born in Scotland, nature photographer Graham McGeorge is fascinated by these creatures. So much so that his collection includes a series of breathtaking photos of the birds, as taken in Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp.
During the day, the eastern screech owls roost mostly in naturally-formed cavities in tree trunks or in holes carved by woodpeckers. At night, however, they come alive, calling out in whiny, monotonous trills that continue for three to five seconds each. Quietly perched on branches close to the ground, these creatures swoop down onto the prey, which usually consists of beetles, grasshoppers, spiders and even snails. Due to their small size, they are often hunted by larger owls, such as great horned owls, spotted owls, as well as animals like mink, raccoon, skunk and so on.
When feeling threatened, the eastern screech owl sits immobile in the cavities of trees, thus avoiding detection. A true nature lover, McGeorge has been frequenting local swamps and woodlands for quite some time now. One of his most well-known collections consists of spectacular pictures of these birds, perfectly camouflaged within their natural environment. The series has won him a number of photography awards, including the Merit Prize of the 2013 National Geographic Travel Contest. Talking about his passion for nature and wildlife photography, McGeorge said:
Ethics is a must. There are many wildlife photographers that bait owls in order to fill their photographic needs. Baiting is very harmful to the health of an owl. To photograph owls in the wild and unbaited you must have a lot of patience, a keen eye and a good ear. Look for holes either made by woodpeckers or old decaying cavities. These are good places to start…[I] Iove to photograph owlets or baby owls. Their expressions are priceless and are guaranteed to touch your heart.
To view the photographer’s portfolio, click here.
Via: My Modern Met