A Wise Owl

“Barred Owl Backyard Visitor” earns second place in the Wildlife & Nature category in our annual photo contest.
This beautiful barred owl is the subject of Katrina Hase’s photo.

When amateur photographer Katrina Hase peered out her window early one winter morning, she saw something out of the ordinary in her oak tree. “To my absolute delight, I discovered it was an owl, sleeping soundly after what I supposed was a long night of hunting,” Hase recalls.

She kept an eye on the wise bird throughout the day, snapping photos from time to time. Eventually, concerned for the other birds that frequented the feeders nearby, Hase, with camera in hand, went out on the back porch to shoo the barred owl—to no avail. “That owl watched me like I was the most ridiculous human in the world,” she says. “It just stared back at me.” But she kept on walking closer and closer, and snapped this stunning photo.

“It finally left and never came back,” Hase says. “But I can still feel the magnificence of its presence when I see the photo. That’s one cool bird!”