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Spotted owl ('Mexican' race)        Images © Mark A. Chappell

The spotted owls of the Pacific Northwest are famous as an endangered indicator species of old-growth forests, but happily the "Mexican" race of the American southwest and Mexico seems somewhat more secure.   These owls were photographed Chiracahua Mountains of south-east Arizona.  They (or possible the same individual in separate years) were extremely tame. They barely consented to open their eyes for pictures, despite my stumbling footsteps on the steep slope and the light from my electronic flash.   One did become alert when ravens or a red-tailed hawk passed overhead, calling, but soon dozed off again.   Several times during the morning they would move a few feet to get out of the sun, and once one dove on something on the ground next to the road, ate it, and perched at eye level in a small tree.

  • Canon 5D4, 7D2, or R5; 800 mm IS lens or 100-400 Mk. II zoom, fill-in flash (2020, 2022)