Category Archives: SHOT FROM THE FILE

Golden Eagle, Common Raven – The Overachiever

The Overachiever

The Overachiever

     There was an “unkindness” of Common Ravens congregated around a deer carcass very close to the road and in the middle sat a regal Golden Eagle.  As we passed by, the entire group exploded in a maelstrom of motion.  Several Ravens followed the eagle, which touched down on a pile of nearby rocks.  Harassment of the apex predator continued until this intrepid corvid forced the massive accipiter to flight.  The Raven certainly appeared to be quite the overachiever.

     Mobbing is a defense behavior, but in this case, also gave the Ravens the benefit of procuring an easy meal.

~ Anecdote and Golden Eagle and Common Raven capture, The Overachiever © Jerry L. Ferrara

Polar Bear – Power Play

Power Play

Power Play

     Scientists have demonstrated the importance of play behavior in many species.  The power of play is especially helpful in honing motor skills and developing techniques that may be beneficial in life.  In a “rough and tumble” play fight session, a Polar Bear implements an impressive tactic with an opponent … a definite power play.

As two behemoths spar away across the Arctic sand,
their rough-and-tumble actions seem hard to understand.
Grapple, grab and wildly flail each other all around.
Is this a deadly battle, or a moment just to clown?
Suddenly one submits, it turns to run and flee.
Not a passive gesture, though, as first it seems to be.
Gaining edge above its foe not long the stance did stay,
a ploy to make its final move, a mighty power play.

~ Anecdote, poem and Polar Bear capture, Power Play © Jerry L. Ferrara

Rough-legged Hawk – Lowering Its Plumes

Lowering Its Plumes

Lowering Its Plumes

     A winter visitor to our area from the Arctic tundra and northern margins of the boreal forest, the Rough-legged Hawk is often observed hunting for voles in open farm regions and marshlands. While recently searching for another predatory species, the Short-eared Owl [ ], this stunning member of the broad-winged hawk clan was found quietly loafing on an ancient country fence post. 

     Suddenly the bird of prey performed a signature avian comfort movement called ‘feather settling’. It raised its plumage, shook its wings and body, and then lowered the feathers back to stasis.

     This frame caught the action just before the hawk finished lowering its plumes.

~ Anecdote and Rough-legged Hawk capture, Lowering Its Plumes © Jerry L. Ferrara

Short-eared Owl – An Owl For All Light

An Owl For All Light

     This is a Short-eared Owl.  It is a denizen of open grassland and riparian habitats.  It is active during daylight hours as well as being crepuscular.  These images depict the handsome little creature in varying light and weather situations over a period of time.  Especially happy with the captures showing the owl’s ear tufts … something not always observed.

~ Anecdote and Short-eared Owl images, An Owl For All Light © Jerry L. Ferrara

Snowy Owl – Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Gray Wolf – Speaking With Spirits

Speaking with Spirits

Speaking With Spirits

     Why does the Gray Wolf howl … is it speaking with spirits as believed by some native cultures?  The reason for howling may be as elusive as the wolf.  Perhaps, as proposed by ethologists, the howl is a behavior that strengthens the pack members’ bonds.  Perhaps it is a means of communicating with wolves that have been separated from the pack.  This lone wolf had just risen from sleeping.  She pointed her muzzle skyward and gave forth a hauntingly beautiful call … a song that was deeply primal.  Was she calling to her pack?  At that point in time, her pack comprised only one other member — her sister.  The others had perished for various reasons.  Was she calling to those she may have remembered and had spent a lifetime with being a wolf?  Was she, perhaps, indeed speaking with spirits?

~ Anecdote and Gray Wolf capture, Speaking With Spirits © Jerry L. Ferrara

Red Fox – Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to All!

The temperature was cold, but this wish is warm.

A hearty holiday greeting

from Jerry and Vicki

~ Greeting and Red Fox capture, Merry Christmas © Jerry L. Ferrara

Short-eared Owl – A Sky-Bound Gymnast

A Sky-Bound Gymnast

A Sky-Bound Gymnast

     The “twist-and-turn” is seemingly never signaled … it just suddenly explodes into the observer’s vision.  For the Short-eared Owl, this spectacular stunt is but one technique it employs in the hunt, but undoubtedly it’s the most impressive.  The gossamer creature will be drifting above the marshy landscape one moment, only to bank and turn before plummeting into the tall grass after its prey.

     Here, a sky-bound gymnast, flying from right-to-left, abruptly rotated in midair, reversed direction and plunged to its quarry.  The Short-eared Owl is an authentic aerial acrobat.

~ Anecdote and Short-eared Owl capture, A Sky-Bound Gymnast © Jerry L. Ferrara. Recorded in the quietude of a wild wetland.

Sea Otter – What More Can I Say?

What More Can I Say?

Today’s subject speaks for itself.  What more can I say?

~ Words and Sea Otter capture, What More Can I Say? © Jerry L. Ferrara

White-tailed Deer – Entities in the Mist

Entities in the Mist

Here are some recent images done on a very cold morning.

     It was 18ºF and a heavy hoarfrost cloaked the leaden sweep. The entire somber setting was clenched in the tenacious grasp of the crystalline deposit’s ghostly grip … and there were vague entities in the mist.

     With time’s passage, the brume dissolved. The figments became clear.

~ Anecdote and White-tailed Deer captures, Entities in the Mist © Jerry L. Ferrara