See photos of otherworldly owls

The North American owls and their landscapes.

  • A Snowy Owl prepares to launch into flight from a piece of driftwood just after sunrise at Ocean Shores, Washington.

    Paul Bannick
  • A Northern Pygmy-Owl looks up after digging up his cache of quail underneath the snow.

    Paul Bannick
  • Within days of leaving the nest, cavity nesting owls, like these rare Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls, spend a great deal of time peering out and attempting to be the first to receive food when a parent arrives.

    Paul Bannick
  • A Flammulated Owl brings a moth into a woodpecker-created cavity in a ponderosa pine snag. These owls are strictly nocturnal.

    Paul Bannick
  • The first of three Great Gray Owlets leaps from the nest a top a dwarf mistletoe broom, 50 feet off of the ground.

    Paul Bannick


Owls, with their nocturnal and enigmatic habits, are often seen as otherworldly — even sublime. Paul Bannick’s photographs in Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls offer an enlightening look at 19 species in Canada and the U.S.

Bannick captures the elusive raptors in moments of both action and repose. In one photo, a tiny northern pygmy-owl pulls its prey, a large bat, into its nest. In another, a juvenile great gray owl awkwardly clings to a tree while attempting to learn how to fly, its large yellow eyes staring at the camera. There are striking shots of birds in full flight, particularly one of a snowy owl on a snow-white background.

Bannick’s writing intertwines stories about his personal encounters with owls with information about their natural history. He writes, “Since owls live in nearly every habitat in North America, their stories are the stories of our natural landscapes.”

Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls
By Paul Bannick
217 pages, hardcover: $34.95.
Mountaineers Books, 2016