There is something so special seeing a wild Barn Owl quartering, hovering with moth like silence while hunting. Flying effortlessly on the wing in the half-light at dawn or dusk.
In British folklore, a screeching Barn Owl is believed to predict that a storm or cold weather was imminent. During a storm if a Barn Owl was heard, it indicated that the storm was nearly over.
The custom of nailing a Barn Owl to a barn door to ward off evil persisted into the 19th century, something you just wouldn’t believe people would do in today’s times. The Barn Owl had a sinister reputation, a bird of darkness, where people associated it with death.
The Ancient Greeks and Roman’s saw owls as a symbol of wisdom. Athena the goddess of wisdom is often depicted in art with an owl perched on her shoulder. Sometimes owls were also viewed as messengers from the gods, full of wisdom and helpfulness.
They divide the field or area and hunt or quarter which refers to this practice these owls do so well on the lookout for movement, in turn prey.
When you see them in the wild you witness their very distinctive appearance with a white heart-shaped face with no ear tufts and sharp black eyes all contributing to its striking appearance.
Barn Owl’s feathers make them perfectly adapted for silent flight, but this makes them prone to water logging so they are not well suited to hunting in wet weather.
The key to an owl’s silent flight is in its feathers, the next time you find an owl feather, turn it on its side and look at the edge,the line of fibres is scalloped, like a stretched seam.
The slight alteration in shape allows the feather to cut the air without making sound, making them perfectly aerodynamic.
The ability to see things that are hidden and hunt completely undetected are key to a Barn Owls life and survival. Often without warning they arrive and vanish before you have any chance to capture this.
While hunting this Barn owl was constantly harassed by a kestrel hoping to pitch its food. These couple of very lucky and unplanned images show you one encounter. Its a hard life for our beloved and native Barn Owls.
Barn Owls have fascinated me since my early childhood and if you can support The Barn Owl Trust who do amazing work to help our Barn Owls and their habitat.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these images. If you’d like to book one of my workshops, one to ones or trips then see the following link many thanks