South Okanagan nature photographer snaps rare photo of northern pygmy owl | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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South Okanagan nature photographer snaps rare photo of northern pygmy owl

Curtis Zutz, an Oliver nature photographer, snapped this shot of a northern pygmy owl earlier this week.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Curtis Zutz
December 24, 2020 - 8:00 AM

Oliver nature photographer Curtis Zutz found himself in the right place at the right time last Sunday as he added a new species to his increasingly long list of photos of Okanagan birds.

“It was my wife’s birthday last Sunday, Dec. 20. We were talking at breakfast and I was telling her I had 10 birds I wanted to photograph, the northern pygmy owl being one of them,” he says.

After breakfast, Zutz went for a walk outside his rural Oliver home and as he puts it, “there it was.”

“I’ve researched them some. There are lots of them on the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island, but I’m not sure what the numbers are here in the Okanagan. I had never seen one but always wanted to photograph one. They’re so small, they can be easy to overlook,” Zutz says.

Wilden.ca says the tiny owls are about the size of a coffee cup, and have been found in Okanagan Mountain Park, according to Wilden.ca.

Curtis Zutz was looking for Bohemian waxwings when he came upon a house finch feeding on mountain ash berries in this seasonally festive photo.
Curtis Zutz was looking for Bohemian waxwings when he came upon a house finch feeding on mountain ash berries in this seasonally festive photo.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Curtis Zutz

Yesterday, Dec. 22, Zutz was driving to Oliver when he passed by a cluster of mountain ash trees where he often checks for birds.

“The trees were full of Bohemian waxwings, which I had been hoping to photograph, but I didn’t have my camera,” he says.

He returned home to get his camera but when he got back to the site the birds had flown. In their place was flock of house finches.

“This is the time of year when birds feed on the mountain ash berries. I took a photo of a female house finch filling her face,” Zutz says of the festive-coloured shot.

Not one to give up easily, Zutz returned to the cluster of trees and was rewarded with a shot of a Bohemian waxwing this morning, Dec. 23.

Zutz enjoys going for nature walks and taking photos of wildlife, which he often posts to his Facebook page Curtis Zutz Nature Images.

Curtis Zutz of Oliver took this photo of a Bohemian waxwing Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020.
Curtis Zutz of Oliver took this photo of a Bohemian waxwing Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Curtis Zutz

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to tips@infonews.ca and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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