By Jack Williams
Forget tawny owls, this YAWNY OWL spoiled its perfect camouflage by not being able to hold back its tiredness.
The eastern screech owls are renowned for their abilities to seamlessly blend into their surrounds, and this cute bird was initially no different, nestling into a hollowed-out part of a tree.
By then yawning, however, the bird was far easier to spot, and this funny process was captured by photographer Matthew Cuda in Huntersville, North Carolina, USA.
Matt, 43, said: “Eastern screech owls are masters of camouflage.
“It is not uncommon for people to walk right by them in the wild and never notice them being there.
“Often, they sleep during the daytime and hunt during the night.
“When they close their eyes and are perched in a dugout tree, they are totally camouflaged.
“This is part of what makes them so unique and interesting to photograph.”
Matt shot the one-of-a-kind snap while attending a special photography event to raise money for wounded raptors at the Carolina Raptor Center.
The wildlife photographer said that he had shot a number of owls in the past, but capturing the female bird in such a pose, with its mouth wide open, was a first.
Through such images, Matt – from Tobaccoville, North Carolina – hopes to raise exposure for these animals and help to educate others on how to not to bring harm to such creatures.
Matt said: “In general, I love to photograph all birds, but photographing raptors and specifically owls is something I love to do very much.
“Owls are the snipers of the raptor universe.
“They blend into their environments, wait for the cover of darkness and strike their prey with silent and deadly accuracy.
“They also have large, full eyes and a look of intelligence and strength.
“Owls are, without a doubt, unique in the animal world.”