Stunning picture shows owl checking out its reflection

Beautiful images captured in Canada

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Stunning picture of owl checking out his reflection

This spectacular barred owl stands on a mossy log and stretches his wings as he admires his reflection in a pool of water.

As darkness falls in the forest, the young male leaves his tree and flies down to perch in the middle of the rainwater pond.

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Mesmerised by his own reflection, the white and grey feathered creature poses with his wings raised.

After checking himself out for a few minutes, he flies away - only to return a little later to rest on a mossy stump.

Unable to resist looking at his reflection again, the proud bird lowers his head and stares intently into the pool.

The brightly lit owl stands out from his surroundings of murky water, swamp-land and trees.

Pretty balls of colour in the background are formed from red sugar maple leaves, yellow aspen leaves, and orange-coloured fungi.

These stunning photographs were captured by teacher Bill McMullen at an outdoor learning centre near Cumberland in Ontario, Canada.

Bill, 40, has followed this owl's progress since he was a baby - after he and a friend spotted the youngster and two siblings leave their tree as owlets.

The photographer, from Rockland, Ontario, Canada, painstakingly tracked the owl's family over months until the mother was used to his presence and he was able to get close enough to take pictures.

He said: "The whole experience was one of the most memorable and amazing bonds with nature that I have ever had.

"It took hours and hours of patience and exploring to trace the owl family's whereabouts and have the parents used to human presence.

"As the barred owlets matured, they became more active in the evening and would come down from the canopy to eye level or lower.

"With time, the mother barred owl would watch from a distance as I was able to photograph the owlets preening, walking on stumps and feeding on insects, birds and rodents."

The photographer came to take pictures of the owls over the course of a couple of weeks, arriving before twilight and waiting for the owls to become active.

Stunning picture of owl checking out his reflection

Using a tripod to get the right height to capture both the owl and the reflection, he would stand opposite the pool about 40 ft from the bird.

He said: "The owls roosted in the hemlock forest, so as daylight began to fade, they would simply come down from the canopy.

"They would spend about an hour doing this then be called by their mother for a meal and fly deeper into the forest to be fed wood thrush or small rodents."

Bill, who regularly volunteers at the MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre where these images were taken, said that he had never seen an owl looking at its reflection before.

He said: "A young male, nicknamed 'Malcolm', would land on logs and stumps in the water and he actually looked at his own reflection.

"It was unbelievable to witness this behaviour.

"This owl was the most bold of the three and would often be the one swooping down to lower branches and dropping onto the logs.

"He looked at himself a few times.

"At first he jumped a bit and stared very intently looking at 'the other owl'.

"Later he actually recognised the reflection as himself as he would look briefly then ignore his reflection."

He added: "I have seen Barred Owls wading in shallow pools and walking at the edge of creeks but never actually looking at themselves in the water.

"This was a first and a moment rarely seen, let alone photographed - I was mesmerised to say the least."

National Geographic Traveller's Photography Competition 2016

National Geographic Traveller's Photography Competition 2016


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