Ever since my grandniece, Aleesia Spethman was little, she has loved owls…all kinds of owls. I don’t know if she still does or not, but her interest in owls sparked an interest in owls for me. It was almost surprising to think of a little girl loving owls, but Aleesia did. She loved all kinds of owls. Suddenly, I wanted to know more about owls too. I find that I really like owls too…all kinds of owls. They are just so different. Normally, owls are nocturnal birds, and so spotting them isn’t so easy. I’m always amazed that photographers manage to get pictures of them, but then I’m sure it’s only after hours of sitting and waiting.

One of my favorite owl pictures is of an owl that had its head sideways, looking at the photographer like it was wondering what they were doing. I found that to be even funnier when my grandniece, Mackenzie Moore did that exact same thing when she was little. The fact that I found that picture, really piqued my interest in the burrowing owls, and the things I have found out about them has really made them my favorite owl, I think.

The burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia), is a small, long-legged owl, which is also called the Shoco. It is mostly found in the open landscape areas of North and South America. Burrowing owls prefer grasslands, rangelands, agricultural areas, and deserts. They actually nest and roost in burrows, often using those that have been excavated by prairie dogs. While Burrowing Owls don’t like the midday heat, they are often found out during the day, unlike their fellow owls of the nocturnal type. Still, they do most of their hunting at dusk and dawn, like many other kinds of owls, when they can use their night vision and hearing to their advantage. On strange thing about the Burrowing Owl is its longer legs. These allow the Burrowing Owl to sprint, as well as fly, when hunting, something that is a great advantage, since it lives in open grasslands as opposed to forests.

I particularly like some of the antics of the burrowing owls. In addition to the funny head positioning, they like to stand on one leg, stretch to their full height, and even kiss and hold hands…er feet. They are so cute, and they seem like such a loving owl, at least toward their mate. I don’t suppose their prey would see them that way, but when they aren’t hunting, they really are just as cute as they can possibly be…and funny too.

Chris senior pictureThere comes a time in the late summer and early fall of each year when all the high school seniors are busy getting their Senior Pictures taken. They are excitedly planning the clothes they will wear and the settings they will choose. There are so many great places around town to have pictures taken. The ideas for poses are as endless as their imaginations. These days the senior picture accentuates the personality of the senior and not just the same old thing. When my generation got senior pictures taken, they were pretty much all the same. They were taken in a studio, and most of them were just a glorified version of the traditional school picture. The main difference was the fact that they could edit out your zits. You might wear special clothing, but the picture did not look that much different than the school pictures. But, that was the past…

This year, I will have two grandchildren who will graduate from high school. Christopher will graduate from Kelly Walsh High School and Shai will graduate from Natrona County High School. They have both had their senior pictures taken, and they are all so good it will be very hard to choose the one I like best for each of them. I have chosen two that I like for this story, but I can’t say for sure that they will be my final favorite. More likely, I will have several favorites, and I’m sure I’ll have to have several different ones for different places at work and home.

Choosing a photographer is just as hard as choosing the setting and clothes, and I think that the photographers they chose were both amazing. Each one has their own style and their work was great. Christopher’s pictures were done by my niece, Liz Masterson, who is the Journalism teacher at Kelly Walsh, and has produced the year book for the last several years, as well as taken all of the pictures for it. Shai’s pictures were taken by Jessica Coleman at Poetic Images Photography. I am Shai's senior pictureextremely happy with both photographers, and I think they both have a great future ahead of them.

I can’t believe that two of my grandchildren are going to graduate this year. It seems like only yesterday that they were born. How can they possibly be in their last year of high school? I know that the years ahead will be great for both of them. I can’t wait to see where their next journeys will take them. I am so proud of both of them. They are both amazing people. Chris and Shai, I hope your senior year is totally amazing!! I love you both so much.

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