These are the barred owls that make Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve home. In these shots they are taking well deserved naps. Their nest box has 3 active owlets & like all youngsters the owlets are either sleeping or wanting to eat. These two are Poster Birds for active parenting.

After mating and up to laying her eggs and during the first couplathree weeks after hatching her chicks, ‘Mom’ (how’s that for anthropomorphism 🙂 ) did all the brooding chores. Dad was in charge of food deliveries. First to Mom as she sat on the eggs. After the owlets arrived, he delivered fresh food beak-to-beak to Mom who tore the prey into pieces and fed the soft parts to the owlets.

In the last week, Mom has been out of the nest box for longer periods of time & has joined in hunting. The 3 owlets are consuming large amounts of food which is no surprise to anyone that has raised teenagers.

Time out of the box by Mom & longer times between feedings is the next stage for the owlets. Mom & Dad will be power napping nearby as captured in these snaps during Parent’s Time Out.

Some tough love will encourage the owlets to start climbing to the box opening, wing flapping, & getting brave enough to try and get outside & on the nest box top. All in preparing to fledge probably by the end of this week.

The monogamous parents will continue to protect & feed the juvenile owls through the summer & early Fall. Then they will start getting ready to have another family.

Just more reasons owls are much admired & so easy to want to anthropomorphize their value traits into our cultural arts.

Technical Comments

These were taken with the new OM Digital Systems OM-1. I’m in the process of learning more about how the announced upgrade improvements will impact my shooting experience and potential technical image quality – if I do my job! Here are some early observations from this outing:

The AI Bird Detection is more reliable than on my OMD EM1 iii and EM1X (more on this in a later post), but when a well camouflaged bird is deep in cover and does not want to be noticed by marauding crows, detecting them, much less focusing on them, is asking to much from any AI detection. For these I turned off the Bird Detect and used the small SAF single focus point. To do this I used the Exposure Compensation button that had AI Subject Detection assigned to it. I used this button because I use the front dial for exposure compensation so it was a ‘free’ button. Being able to quickly turn AI detection on and off with a accessible button is a small, but very helpful, improvement for my shooting experience. Even better is the fact that the small single point is smaller than on the OMD cameras making possible to ‘thread the foliage’ and be more precise in placement. This is a significant improvement in both experience and potential image quality (it’s still up to me to put the focus point on the bird’s eye). It will only get better as Spring progresses and buds turn into full leaf coverage.

The improvement in focus lock speed is material and very noticeable. Not a big deal in these shots. The pair was near motionless as they power napped, but the early results chasing the small songbirds are really encouraging. More on this latter as well.

So far my only less-than-enthusiastic observation is ergonomics. And this is pointedly relative to the EM1X. The 1X simply fit my hand and finger landscape. I have just received the new HLD 10 grip and think it will help with to overall fit in my hand, but I realize that it won’t change the button and dial spatial layout that makes the EM1X the fit I love. But, I do think that with enough shooting I will learn to cope and it will be worth it for the other benefits in AF accuracy and speed.

I do hope that OMDS will deliver a firmware update that brings some of the OM-1 functionality and better yet brings to market an EM1X ii that has all the technology innards in the 1X body.

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