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Owl in Northern Alberta

Started by kevin1962, 11/06/2009 10:03PM
Posted 11/06/2009 10:03PM | Edited 11/06/2009 10:17PM Opening Post
Please help. I came accross a light-coloured owl in Spirit River while hunting. I took many pics but in my haste failed to see my camera was set for astrophotography. Nothing but white frames.
Description: Slim, very light coloured. About half the size of a great grey and twice the length of a northern hawk owl. No ears and definitely not a G horned. Almost falcon-like when it finally cried and flew off. If it wasn't for the obvious owl face I'd have guessed it was a gyrfalcon (sharply barred, but a v long, squared tail) Not a northerm barred (way too slim). Not a barn owl as the dish was not that distinct ( of all the owls it most resembled a barn but they are not found here according to the literature)It was as approachable as a N hawk owl. I've looked at the owls of Alberta and nothing even close. Plesae share your thoughts. I have a very clear memory of the bird and especially its in-fight plumage from below as I continued to approach and it cried and flew off at abut 15 feet. Feel free to tell me it wasn't an owl, as I'm starting to question my own sanity. Thanks.
Posted 11/09/2009 08:04PM #1
James K. Burke said:

Please help. I came accross a light-coloured owl in Spirit River while hunting. I took many pics but in my haste failed to see my camera was set for astrophotography. Nothing but white frames.
Description: Slim, very light coloured. About half the size of a great grey and twice the length of a northern hawk owl. No ears and definitely not a G horned. Almost falcon-like when it finally cried and flew off. If it wasn't for the obvious owl face I'd have guessed it was a gyrfalcon (sharply barred, but a v long, squared tail) Not a northerm barred (way too slim). Not a barn owl as the dish was not that distinct ( of all the owls it most resembled a barn but they are not found here according to the literature)It was as approachable as a N hawk owl. I've looked at the owls of Alberta and nothing even close. Plesae share your thoughts. I have a very clear memory of the bird and especially its in-fight plumage from below as I continued to approach and it cried and flew off at abut 15 feet. Feel free to tell me it wasn't an owl, as I'm starting to question my own sanity. Thanks.

The size description, half the length of a Great Gray Owl, would be consistent with a Short Eared Owl. That however is also the size of a Northern Hawk Owl, which is not what you indicated. Still, the pale belly fits for the male, and it is resident in northern Alberta. Sibley notes the "long, narrow wings, easy floating flight".