Not even the crowing of a rooster could get most of us out of bed. For Hector Astorga, all it took was the subtle hoots of a pair of great horned owls. After hearing the couple calling, Astorga set up a blind at his ranch in Santa Clara, Texas. Then he waited.
On his first try he stayed up until midnight. But the owls were nowhere to be found. He went out again the next night, and still, not a feather was in sight. On the third night he hit the blind after dinner. And lo and behold, two great horned owls made their way to a perch right next to him. Astorga took pictures of the raptors in motion and at rest. He chose to submit this mid-air shot, with the owl veiling its face with its massive, dappled wing. Still visible: its spherical eyes, casting a moon-like pallor over the picture.
This image was a Top 100 photo from the 2013 Audubon Magazine Photography Awards. To see all of the photos, click here.