Guests - If You want access to member only forums on HSO. You will gain access only when you sign-in or Sign-Up on HotSpotOutdoors.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
ShawnZ

Birds in Winter, life and death.

13 posts in this topic

In the midst of my enthusiasm to photograph birds in Northeastern Minnesota, I am frequently reminded of the life and death struggle that these creatures go through on a daily basis. This hawk owl routinely hunted close to a four lane highway this winter and was quite succesfull using traffic to it's advantage; as cars passed by the occassional vole would flush and a meal was had. On the other hand, this great gray owl, discovered on Christmas Day in the Sax/Zim Bog, was a sad reminder that owls near roadsides sometimes meet unfortunate ends. I don't know for sure how the owl passed away, but finding it on the road seemed telling. This white winged crossbill wets it's whistle by eating snow, for during January there is little water to be had in most places across the northland. And lastly, this common redpoll passed away in my yard for reasons unknown, no where near a window, no obvious external injuries, I like to think it lived a full life and finally made it's final migration, but who knows. All photographs taken in St. Louis Cty, during the Winter season 08-09. Comments and critiques always welcome.

Regards, Shawn Zierman.

live.jpg

owl55.jpg

malecrossbill50.jpg

death1.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is very true but sad story. We have a strange acting Redpoll that has been hanging around the feeder that we can walk right up to and almost touch. I only hope that the Shrike that has been hanging around get's the Redpoll and not our pair of Cardinals. Thanks for sharing your story Shawn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very Nice Shawn!(Love that NHO!)....another perspective of the north country that isn't shared everyday but very much a part of our lives......Even as that great gray and redpoll are lying there ...one can't help but see the beauty of those creature in their eternal sleep...such dignified creatures!...you captured them so honorably!.....to some they're mere "roadkills".....to others ...life was lost.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...one can't help but see the beauty of those creature in their eternal sleep...such dignified creatures!...you captured them so honorably!.....to some they're mere "roadkills".....to others ...life was lost.....

Well said. I had such a hard time looking at the great gray photo particularly, though it is so well done. Talk about emotional impact. It is like seeing a deer downed along the highway and getting that flash recognition of your pet's little face. There must be something about a universal holiness in all creatures. Your thought of "beauty in their eternal sleep' was very helpful. I will just give Maggie an extra kiss on the nose, and say--thank you, Shawn, and thank you jonny redhorse (also known for photos with emotional impact).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thankyou all so much for your kind and thoughtful comments. About the ggo....It was Christmas Day and we were headed to a family Christmas party in the great town of Hibbing. When headed that way, I will frequently pass through the bog as it is never time wasted. After turning onto Hwy 7, I glimpsed something on the road out of the corner of my eye. I'm quite sure I knew what it was the instant I saw it but was compelled to go back and look anyway. I was suprised by my own disappointment when I confirmed my suspicion. I have seen dead birds before. I remember last year finding a dead fox sparrow in my front yard, man they are beautiful up close! But the owl was different, so regal an animal, so few to be found, the loss seemed more profound. I had never taken a picture of a dead bird before but something about that moment struck a different chord. It had been two years since I had seen a great gray owl prior to finding this one. Even dead, it WAS special to me and I did my best to make a tasteful portrait worthy of such a creature. The picture has continued to have an impact on me. Death is as much a part of life as living is. In the future, as with the common redpoll, if it feels appropriate, I will continue to make such images if only to mark and remember what was lost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great series Shawn. Life and death happen and we must face it no matter what. The deceased owl looks pieceful in his eternal rest. Very well done and very respectfully...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, these are outstanding. The GGO shot is certainly a special one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0



  • Posts

    • Think we should change the topic to "Trump for Trees."
    • Had to go all the way back to Missouri to hunt in the snow this year! Beautiful morning but not much movement. Did see some late rut activity Friday.
    • Dotch, you guys over there are almost famous....   Almost because it is Waseca, but whatever.    Mark Seeley's weather blog... http://blog-weathertalk.extension.umn.edu/   .... Waseca now reports 54.13 inches of precipitation for 2016 and this is a new statewide annual precipitation record, surpassing the old one of 53.52" at St Francis (Anoka County) in 1991.
      ....   And an interesting thought...(from Mark, not me) Commentary on Winter TIME: No question will be answered this week, but I want to take TIME to make a comment about Winter TIME. Managing the TIME in the Winter Season in Minnesota is a different ball game than other seasons of the year, because everything takes longer. No question winter will be felt more frequently soon in the daily weather, and snowfalls will become more frequent this month. The rash of bicycle, pedestrian, and vehicular accidents reported during the snow storms towards the end of November reminded me about adjusting for Winter TIME. Our concept of time needs to be adjusted. Lengthen the time intervals that you have intuitively built-into your everyday habits and tasks. It takes longer to walk places, longer to drive places, longer to dress and undress, longer to warm up the car, longer to degomble (shed snow) when you come into the house. You need to make time to shovel snow, scrape the windshield, clean the furnace filters, When you walk take shorter steps and not too fast...put the boots, gloves and hat on when you go outside....check on the neighbor if their place hasn't been shoveled...everything should slow down..except for the long Minnesota goodbye..that is better shortened...just say goodbye, open the door, leave and close the door behind you....no need to stand in an open doorway for minutes conversing about last minute stuff. Winter TIME is an adjustment that may save you anxiety, regret, or even injury.
    • Would you use a bobber on your rattle reel with these? I would think a lively minnow would pull the line out of the contacts.
    • My my, how the mighty have fallen...  I went back to the thread on the cook subsidy, and what did I find in the second post from you, on the second page....     Gee, you were ok with the 66 million because it wasn't a stadium or something, but now all butt hurt over 7 million of Indiana money?    Now that there is a funny joke.  
    • Thanks to everyone who replied. Lots of good advice. I'll start with an electrician and go from there.
    • Is there some type of frame or carriage that bolt to machine?  Or do the extra wheels just "float" back there?
    • Who has it for that price? Is the transducer included? I have a 5" version. They are good units but if you ever need out of warranty service they will not repair your unit. They give you credit towards a refurbished unit of the same type or let you upgrade to a different model for a certain price which is something to be aware of. I found that out when my elite 5 wouldn't turn on.
    • Your post is demonstrative of the point I am trying to make. Rural areas have been sold a bunch of talk, and you believe that talk and vote against your own interests. The metro area is taking nothing away from the rural areas in terms of taxes, tax dollars flow the other way. It flows that way through employers that exploit you. A particular quote from "What's the Matter with Kansas?" really nails the point home.      
  • Our Sponsors