Tag Archives: Pueo

Pueo stare

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Capturing a Feeling.’ See more responses here.

A fair number of my photos of perched pueos (Hawaiian short-eared owls) show the birds giving me a scowling look of disapproval. This one has a bit of that, but there’s also a look of astonishment. If I had to give this bird a speech bubble, it would be something along the lines of, ‘He took my picture. He didn’t even ask. The nerve.’

I like this photo for two additional reasons. One is that single, visible curved talon resting on the post. Easy to imagine the effect of that on some unfortunate rodent. The second reason is the eyes. Notice anything about them?

Also posted in response to Becky’s July Squares challenge theme of ‘Perspective.’ See more responses here.

Pueo flying under gray skies

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Gray.’ See more offerings here.

This photo shows a pueo, the native Hawaiian short-eared owl, gliding over a gray road beneath a gray sky. This is a stretch of Old Saddle Road, which is one of the best places to see pueos as they hunt in the pastures on either side of the road or rest on fence posts alongside the road.

Favorite photos from the early days

My first decent pueo photo taken on Old Saddle Road. I noticed it on the post as I drove by, then stopped, got out, and started taking photos. The bird watched me with that intent stare that they have. (Original post here.)

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Oldie-but-Goodie or Favorite Photo.’ (See more responses here.)
This seemed like a good opportunity to run a few of my favorite photos from the first year of this blog.

Hawaiian monk seals are solitary creatures, but these two spent some weeks in each others company. On the left is the female and on the right is IO5, the male I see most often up here in Kohala. (Original post here.)
A rusty millipede casts a giant shadow.
I saw this rusty millipede crossing a dirt road in the late afternoon and liked its giant shadow. This photo ran on the BBC website here. (Original post here.)
A new born calf is cleaned by his mother.
A cow cleaning her very new calf. Another photo that ran on the BBC website here. (Original post here.)
A pair of zebra doves perch on a mock orange branch
A couple of zebra doves enjoying the late afternoon sun together. (Original post here.)
Breakfast strikes back
A personal favorite, this green anole snagged a Chinese rose beetle, but the beetle did not give up. Instead, it got itself onto the anole’s nose before escaping. The anole did not look thrilled at having this incident photographed. (Original post here.)
Finally, a photo from a hike along the coast. Colorful tide pools, blue ocean, white sand – I spent a long time traversing this stretch. (Original post here.)

Pueo head on a swivel

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Layers.’ (See more offerings here.) I thought about the layering of bird feathers, in this case of a pueo (Hawaiian short-eared owl) surveying its surrounds, watchful for threats while also scanning for meal opportunities. Its diligence paid off shortly afterwards when it dove down and snagged a mouse (here).

One-eyed pueo

I saw this pueo (Hawaiian short-eared owl) near Waimea and pulled over to take photos. I watched and photographed it for 15 minutes or so and, at the time, I thought there was something unusual about it. Something didn’t seem quite right. But it wasn’t until I got home and looked at the photos that I realized what was up.

The pueo was missing its left eye. The eye socket seemed healed and the pueo didn’t appear to be in pain. Nor did it seem affected in its flying or behavior. In some ways this makes sense. Owls have great eyesight, but it’s their hearing that is truly extraordinary. They can pinpoint prey just by listening. However, in Hawaii, pueos are active during the day so one would think eyesight might be a more important sense than for nocturnal owls.

Either way, I felt a bit sad for the pueo, but I’m also keenly aware that nature isn’t all warm and fuzzy. And I’ve seen several creatures that have been significantly damaged in one way or another that seem to be doing fine despite their handicaps. Perhaps, from a Darwinian point of view, they’re not successful when it comes to finding a mate and breeding, so their genes are not passed on. I don’t know whether this is the case, but it’s certainly possible.

Regardless, I hope for the best for this pueo. Life for them is tough enough as it is without added challenges.

Posted in response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge on the theme of ‘Unusual.’ (See more offerings here.)

Mealtime for a pueo

Pueo with mouse

Pueo clutching mousePueo with mouse in beakPueo with mouse tailLast week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme was ‘Flight’ and I posted photos of a pueo flying here. This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Wildlife’ (see more offerings here) and, in an audacious move, I’m posting photos of the same bird.

The photos were taken along Old Saddle Road. It’s a prime area to see pueo (Hawaiian short-eared owls) and when I drive this road, I’m something of a menace to other cars since I spend a good deal of time looking at the sky rather than the road. When I do spot a pueo I tend to veer suddenly onto the grassy verge. This is OK assuming there’s a grassy verge and not a deep channel caused by water runoff.

The day I saw this bird had been a good day indeed. Many pueo had been spotted, several photographed, and no accidents caused. Nearing the end of the prime spotting area, I noticed a bird flying over a pasture. I bumped onto the grass and stopped just in time to see the pueo disappear over a ridge. As I waited to see if it might reappear, I looked across the road and saw this pueo perched on a fence post directly across from where I parked. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than smart.

I grabbed my camera, eased the window down, trying to make as little noise as possible, and took a few shots. I needn’t have worried. This pueo seemed quite attached to its spot, perched on a metal fence post. It wasn’t about to move just because someone across the road kept making clicking noises. As cars passed, the bird’s head swiveled to follow their progress, then returned to its surrounds. It kept looking down, sometimes leaning forward with a more intense stare.

Suddenly, the pueo plunged into the grass and disappeared from view. Moments later, it flew up again and landed back on the post. This time it wasn’t alone. Hanging from its beak was a mouse. It wasn’t dead, but its future looked bleak. The pueo juggled it briefly, working it into the right position. Then, in a couple of quick gulps, the mouse disappeared, only the tip of its tail hanging out of the pueo’s mouth. Moments later, that too was gone. The pueo hung around for a while longer before taking off to try its luck hunting from the air.

I was struck by the poise of this large bird, perched on a small metal post, while it scanned its surroundings and ate its meal. Look at those talons gripping the post. Not something I’d want around my head. The same goes for its beak.

I’m easily charmed by cute geckos and awed by giant humpbacks, but there’s a reason for the ‘wild’ in wildlife. It’s a critter eat critter world out there and sometimes it can be almost as dangerous as civilization.

 

A pueo flying

Pueo flying

Pueo take offPueo hoveringThis post is in response to two photo challenges, which I could say is killing two birds with one stone, but given the subject matter, that would be most inappropriate. This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Flight’ (see more responses here), and this week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Dreamy’ (see more responses here).

The ‘flight’ response is more immediately obvious. This is a pueo (Hawaiian short-eared owl) flying. In the top photo it’s cruising over pastureland. In the middle is its initial launch into the air. Below that, hovering above something promising in the grass. And at the bottom, a dive to take a better look.

These photos also work for the ‘dreamy’ response for two less apparent reasons. The first is that I’ve always had flying dreams, less frequently these days, but still every now and again. The thought of gliding above the landscape, as in the top photo, is very pleasing for me. The second reason is that seeing pueo is still a somewhat surreal, dreamy event. Owls are often nocturnal, but pueo are active during the day. In the air they are accomplished fliers, gliding, hovering, diving with little apparent effort. At rest, they look very dignified as they sit, keeping watch, head swiveling a disconcerting 360°.

These photos are of the same pueo, seen on a recent drive along Old Saddle Road, southeast of Waimea. I’ll post other photos of this bird once I’ve had time to go through them, but seeing it was a great, chance encounter at the end of my best ever day for seeing pueo.

Pueo dives

A Hawaiian short-eared owl flies over the ground.

A Pueo flying

A Hawaiian short-eared owl flies over the ground.A Hawaiian short-eared owl flies over the ground.

I was driving the Kohala Mountain Road when I saw this Pueo (Hawaiian short-eared owl) hovering. The mountain road is narrow and winding so it was another 100 yards or so before I could pull over to a semi-safe place. Luckily, the pueo was in an amenable mood and hung around the area, swooping back and forth before settling on the hillside.

I love watching them, dropping onto potential prey or ascending into the skies, completely at home in their environment.