A nature photographer captured this remarkable image of a Great Gray Owl playing hide and seek with its prey in the forests of British Columbia, and perfectly demonstrated the cunning design of nature’s best predators.
Although it is one of the longest owls in North America, the Great Gray almost manages to completely hide itself while in full view while its feathers merge perfectly with the tree bark behind it.
The only thing that gives away the presence of the owl to nature lovers were the piercing yellow eyes of the bird as he turned his head.
Alan Murphy, 59, is a nature photographer from Houston, Texas, who took incredible photos at a photography workshop in British Columbia in July 2019.
Can you see the Great Gray Owl broken here in July 2019 by Alan Murphy in a forest in British Columbia, Canada?
With the feathers and colors of the Great Gray it can camouflage itself in the tree bark, but its penetrating yellow eyes give it away
“While searching in the forests of British Columbia for birds to photograph, I met this guy,” Murphy wrote in a Facebook post.
“It’s like finding a needle in a haystack. See if you can see the Great Gray Owl. The nature is amazing !! ”
“You can see the plumage of the owl blend into the texture of the tree bark, making it almost invisible,” Murphy said.
“The owl looks away, so you can’t see the face that makes the bird invisible.
“Although I was focused on the bird, it was still hard to see him.
“The only image that shows the face of the owl gives its position a little away.
“I wonder about the wonders of nature and this is a great example of how wonderful it is to see such a smart camouflage used by a bird,” he added.
“I am truly a blessed man to experience this and to do it for a living.”
Photographer Alan Murphy, who grew up in Ireland and England before moving to the United States in 1984, first became interested in bird watching and photography at the age of five when his parents bought him binoculars and a bird field map
The Great Gray Owl, pictured here, is one of the highest owls in North America, but is surprisingly light because it has fewer claws
The Great Gray Owl is perhaps one of the longest owls in North America, but that does not mean it is ever easy to recognize, because its feathers are perfectly colored to blend in with the trees in its forest habitat.
Perhaps that is why this particular breed can be identified because of a surprised look on the face because it is never expected to be caught.
When you catch it, the Great Gray is dressed for the occasion, because they can also be identified by an arrangement of feathers that looks like a bow tie around its neck.
Although one of the tallest breeds, the Great Gray Owl is surprisingly light and weighs less than the Great Horned Owl and the Snow Owl, both of which have larger claws and claws.
The complex and misleading camouflage is also designed to help him stalk his prey, allowing him to attack before the unsuspecting creature even knows that the owl is in its sights.
‘The way they hunt is that they find perches and stand still in one place. They have a very good vision, but it doesn’t necessarily have to do the whole trick to catch their prey, “said avian biologist William Blake FiveMinutesSpare.com.
“They have evolved to be extremely well camouflaged to have a better time to search for mammals.
“Once they see one, the goal for them is to approach them in a very quiet way and their camouflage helps them not to be seen by the prey they will jump on.”
In the spring and summer months, when the weather is warmer, the owls hunt from low posts closer to the ground to look for mice and voles, but return to higher perches in the winter months due to heavy snowfall.
The large gray owl can be recognized by the surprised look on his face and an arrangement of feathers that looks like a bow tie
A Great Horned Owl, pictured here hanging from a kite rope in North Dakota, is shorter than the Great Gray but heavier
The Snow Owl, pictured here as a recreation park in Germany, has more claws and claws than the Great Gray, making it heavier
Murphy explained that the owls have large face discs that concentrate the sound. Their ears are asymmetrical (one higher than the other) with which they can triangulate the sound to locate their prey even under two feet of snow.
“When the owl’s head is rocking and rocking, they triangulate the sound for them. As soon as the movement is under the snow, they dive their own height into the snow to catch the prey. ”
Photographer Murphy, who grew up in England and Ireland, but moved to the United States in 1984, became interested in bird watching after his parents bought him binoculars and a bird field guide at the age of five.
“I love the challenge of approaching birds, the creative aspect of designing the image and the technical challenge of camera settings,” he told the photography site Kruger-2-Kalahari.
“There are always more birds to photograph than I have time for, and there are always better photos to take than I have, so bird photography will be my passion for the rest of my life.
‘In bird photography, I believe that your greatest asset is the knowledge you have about your subject. In my opinion, to become a great bird photographer, you must first be a great birder.
‘This means that you need to know the habits, calls and songs of your test subjects, know how to identify the species for you, know which species can be found in a certain habitat and how you can get close to them. These aspects are much more important than a camera with many bells and whistles. “
Murphy travels from North to America to change location from season to season to look at different birds, but always returns to Canada in the winter months to catch the Great Gray.
In British Columbia, where Murphy took his photos, the population of Great Gray Owls is currently stable. The bird needs a healthy coniferous and mixed forest with trees large enough to house the nest of the tall bird to thrive.
In fact, the population of Great Gray Owls is growing worldwide thanks to conservation efforts.
It is thought that it is currently between 50,000 and 99,000 of the species in the wild.