The Barn Owl is one of the UK’s
most iconic birds. It is a species of open country and favours
lowland habitats. As its name suggests it often favours
nesting on farmland, where it can often be seen hunting during
the day, particularly during winter.
It is a
distinctive bird. Famously hunting on silent wings, they swoop
down on their prey unannounced. Undisturbed by the sound of
their wings flapping, they listen out for the rustling of
small mammals in the grass. With heart-shaped face, buff back
and wings and pure white underparts, the barn owl is a
distinctive sight and once seen, never forgotten.
mate for life unless one of the pair is killed, and breeding
takes place at varying times of year according to locality,
with a clutch, averaging about four eggs, being laid in a nest
in a hollow tree, old building or manmade nest box. The female
does all the incubation, and she and the young chicks are
reliant on the male for food. When large numbers of small prey
are readily available, barn owl populations can expand
was photographed out on an early morning-hunt deep in the
Essex-countryside. It is a wild bird but did not seem phased
by the presence of a photographer. The early morning light was
perfect to capture the bird in action.