Northern Hawk Owl X1-11122013


Every once in a while nature acts weird. Take for instance the northern Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula). It’s natural habitat is the boreal forest of the Northern hemisphere. There, it lives and thrives far away from the bustle of human society. Then all of a sudden a hawk owl appears  in the midst of a medium-size city, buzzing with activity. Not by accident, for it has stayed there for more than two weeks by now. A rare species like that attracts lots of attention from birders and photographers. Imperturbably it continues to catch voles despite the attention of hundreds of birders, the intense traffic and fire trucks with flashing light and siren passing less than two meters beneath the branch it sits on. How can a bird that is used to the hushed pine forests of the Arctic thrive in a hectic city?

 

Actually, Hawk Owls are not very shy. In it’s natural environment it regularly visits villages and cities and it is well known that it doesn’t fear humans. During the breeding season it ferociously attacks all intruders in its territory. Size doesn’t matter. It’s a fearless creature that can obviously handle both the dangers of its natural habitat and the dangers of the city.

 

What strikes me is that it stays in a very small area of maybe four hectares during its stay. Considering the number of voles it manages to catch I guess it doesn’t need a larger territory to feed. I wonder if this individual eventually will  find its way back to the Scandinavian forests where it belongs. I surely hope so, for it will have a tale to tell to its fellow Hawk Owls!  Nature is full of wonders.

Northern Hawk Owl X2-11122013Northern Hawk Owl X4-11122013

Northern Hawk Owl X5-11122013Northern Hawk Owl