BearHead Photography Bird Pictures
BearHead Photography has many images to showcase his expansive portfolio on animals of North America, and these are his wild bird pictures.
Bald eagles take advantage of any opportunity to eat fish. Many of the fish are to large for the eagles to carry away, so they must wait on bears or other animals to eat some of the fish first. This eagle saw its opportunity and swooped in snag some fish.
Great horned owls are a very large owl. If you get to see them fly they can make you feel very small. I was fortunate to find one owl in this fall tree, when another owl came and landed beside it. It was incredible getting to photograph these two great horned owls resting in this fall aspen tree!
Great grey owls are a majestic owl of the forest. They perch on tops of trees to have the best vantage point to hunt from. With this view, it looked as if it was watching over the Tetons.
A bald eagles wingspan can be greater than 7 feet. They are a beautiful bird and a very graceful soarer. When a fish below caught this eagles attention, it made a sharp turn to head to the river.
As a wildlife photographer, it is always great to start off the day early with a good photo. There are many days I get no photos, or have to wait way longer into the day before I even have an opportunity to take a photo. It was nice to have this bald eagle on a beautiful perch close to me on this morning.
Great grey owls have the largest wingspan of any owls. They can have a wingspan of over 60 inches. Seeing this large bird fly directly at me was an intimidating experience.
Most owls are nocturnal. As the day wore one, I could see more and more short-eared owls beginning to hunt. This owl was hunting as the last light of the day was shining.
Watching bald eagles never gets tiring. They are such a large majestic bird and fly with such ease. One morning, just as the sun was rising, this bald eagle flew close to the river trying to scare river otters hoping they would drop their fish.
Once a great grey owl sees a potential meal, it takes off and gets their very fast. This owl was locked in on its prey, and was coming in with its talons open.
I always enjoy seeing bald eagles. It is hard to imagine that they were once endangered, because is places in Alaska now they are abundant. But I’m grateful that I get to see these birds because it would be very sad and a very different Alaska if they weren’t around.
Short-eared owls are a very small owl. When sitting on a log, they are no more than 8 inches tall. Without a sense of scale it is hard to tell how small exactly this owl is.
Great grey owls really are the owl of the forest. They are master hunters in the woods and blend in incredibly well in the forest. I've walked by owls numerous times without even knowing they were there, even though they were only feet away.
Watching a bald eagle catch a fish is amazing. The skill and speed needed to catch a salmon out of the water is impressive. This bald eagle decided to land on a large rock in front of a waterfall to eat its catch.
Food most Alaskan animals only comes in the summer. Competition for any food can be fierce. This mature bald eagle was not going to allow this immature bald eagle any opportunity to take away its salmon, and attacked it before it could land.
Getting to see an owl is always a special treat. Being fortunate enough to be there and ready for when they go on the hunt is very exciting. Northern hawk owls move so fast and make no noise as they approach their target.
Owls are a hard animal to find because they blend in so well with their surroundings. If I hadn’t previously found this owl, I likely wouldn’t have found it in this tree. I love how vibrant its eyes are and it shows off how well these owls can see.
Capturing a bald eagle in flight at eye level is not easy. They are usually higher up until the last minute when they dive. Being up on a cliff watching eagles helped me be able to capture this shot.
A White Look
Snowy owls are a very large owl. When sitting on a log they don't look that big, but once they take off it is evident of how large their wingspan is. Tracking this large owl as it flew was not a problem.
Great Owl Eyes
Looking directly into the eyes of an owl is scary. It is a very intense look, and makes you feel insufficient. This was a very young great horned owl that still had many of its down feathers.
One of the hardest times to photograph is at dawn and dusk. Not only is it darker and tests the extremes of your camera setting, but the light is ever changing and makes getting exposures correct very hard. Short-eared owls are a small owl and you have to be close to get a good shot of them. Tracking this owl as it flew over the tundra in almost darkness and trying to focus on the owl was incredibly difficult. But getting this one shot of the owl stalking at first light made all the effort well worth it.
If I was a rodent, this look would terrify me. It would likely be the last thing I saw too. This owl had its sights set on a post as it flew through the meadow, and I happened to position myself directly behind the post it chose!
There are times in life when you don’t know what just happened. This happened to this eagle as it was waiting its turn to eat. All of a sudden another bald eagle came out of nowhere and grabbed the eagle and threw it into the river. I can only imagine the surprise of the eagle that got turned upside down.
Owls are not a bird I see often. I do search for them quite a bit when I am out photographing, but if they don’t fly they are really hard to find most of the time. That is, of course, unless they are perched in a yellow aspen tree. I loved how this great horned owls eyes matched the color of the leaves.
Salmon can be very difficult for bald eagles to catch. The biggest issue is their size, as bald eagles mainly have to catch smaller fish. But in the summer in Alaska there is a bounty of salmon and its hard for the eagles to not be tempted. This eagle was barely able to fly out with its salmon it snatched from the ocean.
Ravens are one of the most common birds across America. They are also one of the smartest birds there are. It’s fun watching them study something and then fly down and figure out how to open it up. This raven had chosen a great spot to take a break.
Haines is known as one of the best places in Alaska to look at bald eagles. At certain times of the year they congregate in huge numbers. Here, a mating pair look down on a stream in the rain in search of a salmon.
Bald eagles can be found all over the state of Alaska. They congregate in high numbers where the salmon run. Some of those areas are in a rainforest because much of southeast Alaska is a rainforest. The rainforest creates a beautiful backdrop for this eagle.
Golden eagles are majestic birds. They are large birds and true hunters, flying up to 60 mph after their prey. This eagle spotted a target, and took off from its rock perch.
Mt. ReDoubt is a large volcano that erupted in 2009 in Alaska. This puffin was flying in front of it as it flew to its favorite fishing hole.
There are so many beautiful places in nature. We usually one get one viewpoint of that beauty, but birds get so many different viewpoints. It looked as if this northern hawk owl was sitting on the top of this tree and watching the clouds roll over the mountains.
Great grey owls have beautiful yellow eyes. Owls have incredible vision and can detect the slightest of movements. This owl was on the hunt as it had its eyes as open as they could be.
Finding an owl of any type is exciting. Northern hawk owls are difficult to find because they aren’t very big. I loved the dead tree it was sitting on in the fading light of the day. It created a nice mood to the scene that was different than any owl shot I had.
Bald eagles are scavengers. They fly around trying to find any food they can. On this morning the eagle was soaring over the bears hoping to find a leftover salmon carcass.
What a surprise it was to see this great horned owl in the top of this small tree in the first light of the day. I knew they were in the area, but they were normally in the thick forest, and not obvious at first light. It was on the hunt, but his horns made him distinct from any other owl.
Bald eagles can’t really swim. They can do just enough to make it back to shore most of the time. The main reason they end up in water is that the fish they caught is to big for them to fly off with. Eagles really can’t catch very large fish, and when the fish is too large that they catch they have to swim back to shore with it.
Alaska creates a beautiful backdrop to many species of animals. The scenery is incredible, but the animals within the scenery is what gets me the most excited. This eagle flying in front of some mature pine trees in a rainforest was a beautiful scene.
Tired of the other eagle trying to take its meal, the eagle finally left. Flying off, it took the duck with him to a safer eating spot. The eagle was proud of its catch and was not in the sharing mood.
Snowy owls are a magnificent owl. There stark white color really makes them stick out if they aren't in a snowy landscape. This owl had found a nice piece of driftwood to rest on.
Puffins are one of my favorite birds. They have such a neat look and they are really hard to photograph because they fly so fast. These puffins had picked out a great home on the side of the cliff.
Northern haw owls are a spectacular owl. All owls are cool, but the look of the northern haw owl I really like. Normally they are far away and it's hard to see any detail from a distance on them. Getting to be so up close for over five minutes and really enjoy this owl as he bobbed his head and curiously studied me made my trip.
Flying high above the ground and looking for food, this eagle had an interesting look. When flying around it was as if it could not tell what something on the ground was. This is unusual for an eagle because they have such great eye sight.
A Northern Post
When scanning the vast tundra of Denali, small birds are very hard to find. I often look over them and didn't even realize it. Northern hawk owls blend in so well and often look like the top of a tree from a distance. The initial excitement of finding an owl is amazing, and then stalking to get close enough to get pictures in always a rush.
Bald eagles are amazing birds, and once they find a mate they stay with them for life. They will often fly together when they don't have little ones to watch after. It's neat to see a bald eagle pair sitting together on a clear Alaskan day.
Great grey owls are a large majestic bird. Finding them while they are hunting in the woods is a great experience. For as large as a great grey owl is, they blend in incredibly well with their environment. This owl finally decide to fly down, and landed on this low branch to hunt closer to the ground.
Short-eared owls are a small owl. At the largest they have a wingspan of 40 inches. This owl was doing everything it could to generate more power to fly faster.
Watching this encounter was interesting. I really figured the owl would attempt to jump off the branch and grab the squirrel. But the squirrel knew something I didn't, and got as close as it could to the owl and was barking at the owl to leave its territory.
Owl typically hunt in the night and at dawn and dusk. Finding an owl in the darkness is not an easy task. We found this owl close to the road, somehow, as we were just starting to make out the tundra. We followed it with out lenses the best we could, and when the short-eared owl went above the ridge, we were able to capture a silhouetted picture of the owl against the sky.
Puffins can be found in many areas around Alaska. There are two types of puffins, and they usually don't hang out with each other much. I mostly see the horned puffins, but I saw this tufted puffin flying around and captured it with the mountains behind it.
Hiking in nature is always a fun time. Just listening to nature's noises, and the stillness and peacefulness of the woods is why people get out. I love hiking because I just never know what is around the next corner. Finding a bald eagle, perched nearby, through a tiny hole in the trees, will make any hike a memorable hike!
Driving down an unknown road and seeing a great grey owl perched on a fence post was a great surprise! I immediately got out and began to photograph it. With the Tetons as a backdrop, I was able to make it look like it was looking at the Tetons.
As I was walking through the woods, this large owl almost hit me as it flew by. I followed it until it landed near where I was. This beautiful barred owl blended in amazingly well, and I would have never found it if it hadn't almost flown into me.
Bald eagles really are a large powerful bird. Even in this snow storm, it was obvious how awesome of a bird this eagle was when it turned to the side and showed off its size.
Pictures can capture personalities and looks of animals that are not seen by most people. As this owl was repositioning its sitting place, it gave off this look showing off its displeasure with having to move.
Pileated woodpeckers are a large and beautiful woodpecker. When they are hammering into a tree, the noise and echo in the forest can be heard for a long distance. This male woodpecker was on a search for bugs as it went up the tree.
Wood ducks are considered one of the most beautiful ducks. With there design and coloration, it is not hard to figure out why that is. Here a male wood duck swims in a calm stream as the evening light reflects off the water.
I found the eagle before the moon. Once I realized the moon was still out and at a great level, I moved around in hopes of the moon being near the eagle. The eagle was facing right at the moon, looking like it was curious about what it was.
Share With Me
The puffin with the fish had just gotten back from fishing and landed on the rock. Another puffin quickly landed on the same rock and tried to steal some of the other puffins fish.
Coming upon a snowy owl is something you don't forget. They are such a pretty bird, and this owl as content to sit on this drift wood for hours.
Finding a great grey owl in the woods is not easy. Happening upon this owl was a great treat. I could tell it was hunting, but tracking and photographing it in the thick woods was very difficult.
Eagles are fairly territorial. Yes there are large congregations of eagles in spots, but that doesn’t mean that eagles won’t protect against a really good fishing spot. This eagle had just chased another eagle away and was letting it know who was boss.
Watching a snowy owl in flight is impressive. They have such a large wingspan that they are not hard to spot. The contrast between the brown grass and the white owl really made this owl stick out as it flew.
Golden eagles are an impressive bird to watch. They are on the hunt for prey most of the time and always looking for a way to sneak in a meal. As this eagle was about to land, it spread wide and showed just how large and powerful it was.
Ready to Fly
After 6-8 weeks baby owls begin to venture from the nest and check out the tree. They still cannot fly, but they are big enough to move around. With mother watching, two fledgling great horned owls sit quietly on a branch looking out at the world and dreaming of flying like mother.
The peacock is a very large bird and is mostly all across India. During the mating season it is a spectacle to see them open up there huge feathers and shake them at the females. A close up reveals just how colorful and textured the feathers are.
Snow geese fly together in huge flocks. They will congregate in the thousands in different areas along the east coast in the winter. During a rainy day, a large group takes off together and I used a slow shutter speed to capture the movement of their wings.
Finding owls is never an easy task. Fortunately, on this day this owl was sitting right on the top of this smaller pine tree. With some distant mountains behind it, this owl had a great view of its territory.
Seeing bald eagles flying never gets old. This eagle had been watching river otters eat a fish, and was hoping to eat some of the remains after they were done. Once he realized there would be nothing left, he took off and was eye level with me in the valley.
On a cloudy morning, I spotted these two eagles and decided to wait just in case the sun did come out. It was past sunrise time, and I was about to move on. All of a sudden a little light appeared in the clouds, and then the sun even appeared. These two eagles had a perfect view of a terrific sunrise out over the flat marsh lands.
A rock ptarmigan walks across the snow and shows off its unusually large feet. These large feet help them move without having to fly across the snow and get noticed by predators.
During the salmon run in the Alaska, many salmon are caught by predators because there are so many fish. An immature eagle noticed this salmon stuck in a shallow area and took advantage of it. The fish didn't go down without a fight, and as the eagle tried to pick it up it flopped around and tried to get back in deeper water.
Great grey owls are the largest owl. Sometimes you would think they don't know that from where they try and perch. This owl sat on the very top of this thin tree and bent the top over greatly with its weight.
There are certain times of the day when a shot turns more dramatic. If I had taken this shot in the daylight, it still would have been a neat shot with an eagle taking off from a cliff. However, in the last light of the day, a more dramatic scene unfolds because the eagle's outline is highlighted by the light behind it and it becomes silhouetted as it takes off.
While most American owls don't hunt fish, this is what the brown fish owl specializes in. They will sit above a lake or stream for hours waiting on a fish to swim by, or any other water animal to show itself.
The common blue kingfisher in India is a beautifully colored bird. There are 14 species of kingfishers found in India, and all of them are very differently colored. It is not hard to spot these beautiful birds during the dry season at all.
Kingfishers are one of the fastest birds, and also one of the hardest to photograph because they never sit still. I was following this kingfisher as it moved along the lake, it hovered for a couple seconds to allow me time to lock on it, and then it dove straight down and caught a fish.
Going for It
Peacocks are a very large bird, and it is hard to imagine them being able to fly. When they fly nearby, they are very loud and not hiding from anyone. After considering where it wanted to fly, this peacock took off from a high rock in the late evening.
There are thousands of bald eagles in Alaska. In some places they are more prevalent than other areas. In this area they are known to gather for the salmon run, and they were waiting on the salmon to show up.
A couple of magpies disturbed this great horned owl and pestered it a long time. It finally had enough and flew to a different tree. The magpies followed and continued to harass him. He had finally had enough and gave those magpies one evil look.
The common loon is a beautiful bird. I always wondered how it got to be called a common loon instead of just loon. What is so common about it? Loons are unmistakable by their coloration and beauty.
Puffins are a fun bird to watch and photograph. They fly extremely fast and are hard to capture without a blur. I had positioned myself near a landing spot for the puffins as they flew back from fishing. With a mouth full of fish, this puffin prepares to land.
This males nest was just a few trees over from where he was resting. Mother was on the nest tending to the chicks, and every now and then the male would call out to her.
This owl was hungry and on the hunt. I watched it fly down and miss a vole, and flew back up to this tiny branch. It was moving around as he landed, and he didn't stay long. Maybe he thought it was a good vantage point, but he soon flew off and found a larger branch to hunt from.
Birds of prey do not like each other. Most of the time the marsh hawk would wait until the owl caught a vole, and then would follow and try to steal it. This owl didn't have a vole, but it didn't stop the hawk from harassing it.
Western grebes have a great mating ritual. They will actually run on water to impress their mate. These grebes never did that, but they did show a lot of interest in each other.
Blue Footed Boobies
The blue footed booby is an interesting bird. It is endemic to the Galapagos Islands and looks like a normal bird until it lands and its feet become visible. They are the most identifiable bird in the Galapagos and have an awesome dance when courting each other.
Looking to Impress
Once mating season comes, the male peacocks become very serious and try hard to impress the females. Most adult male peacocks have large feathers, but its how they shake them and dance as to how successful they will be to impressing the females.
In the winter, snowy owls will sometimes fly further south than where the snow always falls. They obviously are built for the snow, but it is easier to hunt in open meadows. As one owl sits on a log, another snowy owl flies the field looking for voles.
Finding a great grey owl in a forest is not an easy task. You might think it would be because of how large they are, but finding them is hard. They blend in incredibly well, and if they don't fly, it's possible to walk right past one and not even know it.
A Ptarmigans' View
In the winter, ptarmigan turn white to blend in with the snow. After the winter they turn back brown because the snow is gone. There was only a little snow left when I saw this ptarmigan. Sitting high on a mountain it had a great view of Katmai.
Ospreys are a master fish hunter. Unlike most other raptors that feed off many birds and rodents, osprey almost exclusively hunt fish. After a successful dive, an osprey flies low over the water.
Frigates are large sea birds that like to steal fish from other birds. They do catch their own fish as well, though. Once mating season begins the males bloat out their chest to try and impress the females. When a female flies over the male calls out to her and tries to get her to land nearby. The chests on these male frigates is quite impressive.
Another bird I did not realize were in the Galapagos were the penguins. The first time I saw one was while I was snorkeling, and it was really fun to swim with them. The Galapagos penguin is the only penguin in the wild that lives north of the equator.
During the mating season in the spring, birds really display trying to catch the females attention. Grouse get particularly animated and walk around with their chests flared out and try to out maneuver other males. This male was looking down at a competitor and showing him who was boss of the area.
Two pintail ducks, a male and female, fly together, and are perfectly in sync with each other in there wing movements.
The male mallard duck is a beautiful bird, and has a very distinctive green head. These males were just floating and taking a nap, waiting for the evening to come for them to fly off and feed.
A short eared owl is a very small owl. If they aren't close to the camera, it's really hard to get a decent shot. This guy was really on the move and hard to follow as he hunted. Here he makes a sharp turn just as he was approaching me.