I'm a captive owl, living in Minocqua, Wisconsin, at the Northwoods Wildlife Center. They take good care of me, and my life is overall pretty cushy. But I'd give up the comforts of civilized life in a heartbeat to be back home on the tundra, hunting for lemmings and snowshoe hares and feeling wild and FREE again.
That's not in the cards for me. But hey--please keep that in the cards for my wild friends and relatives! Slow down when you know you're in an area where owls are spending time. Believe it or not, a lot of us get hit by cars driven by birders! You always hurt the one you love? I don't think so--anyone who is hell bent on a new tick for their list who doesn't know how and where to look, and isn't being mindful, is hardly a lover of owls.
And hey--don't walk up to us for a closeup photo. If you want a splendid photo of an owl, you can 1) take a photo at a rehab center. We're used to it. 2) digiscope. You can do that at a pretty respectful distance.
But even with digiscoping, don't press your luck. Remember, owls from the far north are not used to people. Do you know how...well, how repulsive you people look to us? I'm sorry, but that bare skin on your faces is pretty gross, and the weird whites of your eyes--we just aren't used to that. And when you focus those glassy weird eyeballs on us--ewwwwwwww! And you people overall just don't have that great a track record with us birds, so don't expect us to trust you when you saunter towards us. If you flush an owl, you were being a friggin' jerk, okay? Next time remember not to get that close. Flying around is how we get hit by cars and get stuck in a cage for the rest of our lives, or worse!
People are supposed to be smarter than us birds. So how's about you use your so-called superior brain, and also a bit of heart, and give us some space?