Even though I’ve lived in rural West Virginia for about 14 years, it wasn’t until this summer that I finally felt I had a sporting chance at photographing one of the most elusive creatures that silently frequent our area.

Though I hear their eery call regularly, floating through my open bedroom window as I fall asleep on cool summer evenings, I’ve never attempted to actually track the caller down.

Several times, while hunting or simply going about every-day activities, I’ve seen their black silhouette fly across open patches of only-ever-so-slightly-lighter patches of sky.

But because of the Barred Owl’s elusiveness, I’ve felt that I never had a sporting chance at finding one close enough to photograph with any sort of decent quality. And investing in a telephoto lens just for this purpose simiply hasn’t been high on my priority list.

But then came a morning when the odds turned in my favor.

I was taking a pre-dawn stroll down the driveway when I heard an odd, soft, clucking-like noise coming from the edge of the clearning quite close. I didn’t have a flashlight or anything, so I simply recoreded the call on my phone and resolved to ask my bird-genious brother about it later that day.

When I did, I was surprised that he himself did not recognize the call! That made me curious. So after a lot of digging online, I finally discovered what it was: the call of a young, fledgling Barred Owl. 

Perhaps this was my chance! If it happened to be in the same place the next morning, I would be there to photograph it.

And thankfully, it was. Here are the only three pictures I got before it flew off into the misty darkness of that rainy morning:

To learn about how I actually captured these photos–my approach, how I used the limited equipment I had, technical settings, how I processed the photos, or how I identified the call–PRO Members feel free to ask on the PRO Forums!

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