Dave Sandford


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London, Ontario.

 This is my new buddy ‘Otto’. He & I have been getting better acquainted over the last 6 weeks. He lives only about a km down the road in my local forest. We first met back on the 1st of October. Otto is wild & free and like any relationship it takes a little time to earn trust. I believe we have done this. In the beginning he was a little skittish (if I could find him) however with each passing day that trust has grown. I can tell Otto apart from other Great Horned Owls from a few distinct markings. Animals are smart & the owl the wisest of them all. Some may ask how can you build a relationship/trust with a wild animal. Well, spend enough time around them,behave in a way that is non threatening & predictable for them & you’d be surprised. After tracking Otto down I make sure I keep a longer distance. Several times I’ve been the one to leave him be. I’ve now in fact been searching for him & on about a 1/2 dozen occasions he has been the one to find me & land in the tree closest to me. He’s not conditioned to humans as I’ve had a handful of occasions others happened along & Otto got scared & flew off. It’s been phenomenal observing Otto & his behaviour, he’s even introduced me to his girlfriend recently. I truly believe when you can put out a positive vibe & energy that the animals around us can sense it. Throw in some patience & as I mentioned predictable behaviour & it can take your encounters with nature to the next level. There will be lots more imagery to come of Otto in the coming months. He’s provided me with a little goldmine of photographic opportunities this fall.

Original Caption, Instagram November 2020

©Dave Sandford.

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