Bar patterns on flight feathers of Great Gray Owls (Strix nebulosa) and Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus) are variable, and can be used to recognize individual birds. Here I illustrate a method for taking photos of wings of captured owls and describe a way to arrange images of flying birds for comparison with photos of birds in flight or in the hand. I report four examples. First, two Great Gray Owls photographed in flight on different days at the same site were shown to be the same individual, but differed from a dead owl found at that location a month later. Second, I compared eight photographs of wintering Snowy Owls in flight in Saskatchewan and determined that they portrayed seven different owls. Third, I examined photos of breeding male first-year Great Gray Owls at neighboring nest sites and established that they were different birds. Finally, I compared photos of breeding female Great Gray Owls at the same nest site in 2011 and 2013, and determined that they showed two individuals. I suggest that such photography may be used as a tool to census populations of Great Gray Owls and Snowy Owls.
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Vol. 50 • No. 4