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Barn Owl

Barn Owl
Photo Information
Copyright: Pekka Valo (pekkavalo1) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 423 W: 54 N: 2120] (6789)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-07-11
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, Canon EF 400mm f4.0 DO IS USM, RAW ISO 800, Canon EF 1.4x Extender II
Exposure: f/7.1, 1/400 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Joe's Favourites 2, Owls, Master hunters!, Karatash's other favorite -II- [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-07-12 0:58
Viewed: 10610
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 70
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
A Barn Owl hunting at RSPB Freiston Shore nature reserve near Boston in Lincolnshire.

Barn Owls seem to have avoided my lens for a long time. They always appear when you do not expect and usually when it is already too dark. You usually have 1-2 seconds to shoot the pictures before they dissappear. Mine have been mainly out of focus or from the backside. This time I was on the spot.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The Barn Owl (Tyto alba) is the most widely distributed species of owl, and one of the most widespread of all birds. It is also referred to as Common Barn Owl, to distinguish it from other species in the barn owl family Tytonidae, any of which may be called a barn owl. Tytonidae is one of the two groups of owls, the other being the typical owls Strigidae.

The Barn Owl is a pale, long-winged, long-legged owl with a squarish tail. Tail shape is a way of distinguishing the Barn Owl from owls of the Strigidae family. 33–39 cm in length with an 80–95 cm wingspan. Its head and upperparts are buff, and the underparts are white. The face is heart-shaped.

In the US it is sometimes called a Screech Owl because of its notable shree scream, ear-shattering at close range — although this common name is more often reserved for the genus megascops. It can hiss like a snake, and when captured or cornered, it throws itself on its back and flails with sharp-taloned feet, an effective defence. Contrary to popular belief, it does not make the call "tu-whit to-whoo" (which is made by the Tawny Owl).

Distribution and habitat
The Barn Owl is one of the most widespread vertebrate species on Earth, occurring on every continent except Antarctica. It is absent from most of Canada and Alaska, as well as Greenland, most of central and eastern Asia, the Sahara Desert, New Zealand, and some Pacific islands. It is a bird of open country, such as farmland, preferring to hunt along the edges of woods.

Food and hunting
The Barn Owl feeds primarily on small vertebrates, particularly rodents, but also small bats, birds and reptiles. It also sometimes eats insects. Studies have shown that an individual Barn Owl may eat one or more rodents per night; a nesting pair and their young can eat more than 1000 rodents per year.
It has an effortless wavering flight as it quarters pastures or similar hunting grounds. Alternative names often refer to the appearance, white underparts, or eerie, silent flight, including Monkey-faced Owl, Ghost Owl, Church Owl, Golden Owl, Rat Owl and Stone Owl. Like most owls, the Barn Owl flies silently; tiny serrations on the leading edges of its flight feathers help to break up the flow of air over its wings, thereby reducing turbulence—and the noise that accompanies it. It hunts by flying low and slowly over an area of open ground, hovering over spots that conceal potential prey.

The Barn Owl has acute hearing, with ears placed asymmetrically for improved detection of sound position and distance, and it does not require sight to hunt. Hunting nocturnally or crepuscularly, it can target and dive down, penetrating it talons through snow, grass or brush to seize rodents with deadly accuracy. Compared to other owls of similar size, the Barn Owl has a much higher metabolic rate, requiring relatively more food. Pound for pound, Barn Owls consume more rodents — often regarded as pests by humans — than possibly any other creature. This makes the Barn Owl one of the most economically valuable wildlife animals to farmers. Farmers find these owls more effective than poisons, and they often encourage Barn Owl habitation by providing nest sites.

Predators of the Barn Owl include opossums and raccoons in the U.S., certain snakes, and other raptors such as hawks, eagles, and larger owls (including the Great Horned Owl and the Eurasian Eagle Owl). The most common threats come from humans and their pets, particularly house cats.

Barn Owls are relatively common throughout most of their range but they are rare in Britain. The most recent survey of their numbers in the UK put their population at around 4400 breeding pairs. In the US, Barn Owls are listed as endangered in seven Midwestern states.

Royaldevon, siggi, uleko, flashpoint, Argus, Evelynn, jaycee, jconceicao, nglen, rousettus, CeltickRanger, gracious, goutham_ramesh, haraprasan, cloud, darwin, SelenE, eqshannon, parthasarathi, tomcezar, rcrick has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-07-12 1:05]

Hello Pekka,
very nice in flight shot. panning is done very well and you captured the full glory of the stretched wings! TFS!

Hello Pekka,

You are my neighbour today!
What a lovely catch of this most attractive barn owl, with its wings extended and its eyes alert. It has the most lovely speckled markings, paired with soft creamy feathers, and you have captured these details well.

I think I am so attracted to this type of owl because we had a specialist bring some into school. The children were allowed to have it on their arms and then, they made owl masks! There were owls flying around the classroom for days!

Kind regards,
Bev :-)

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-07-12 3:50]

Hej Pekka,
This is a fantastic capture of the Barn Owl in flight! Very well-timed and showing great details of the plumage in lovely colours. I like the fine soft background too. Well done!
TFS and cheers, Ulla

Hi Pekka, a new favourite!!.. Like a cat with wings, just an amazingly good image, colours, so soft but detailed. Just perfect.....

Hi Pekka,
perfect taken to wings open with good details excellent composition!

best sERGIO

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-07-12 4:35]

Hello Pekka,
Superb photo of this Barn Owl in flight.
The sharpness and details are excellent. Great colours with a fantastic OOF BG. Very good POV and composition.

Hello Pekka,
Fantastic shot!! Dead on.. Very seldom see an owl in flight mostly still shots.. In Awe:)..

Best regards,

  • Great 
  • sayat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 280 W: 0 N: 258] (1457)
  • [2008-07-12 7:43]

Great capture of this beautiful bird's flight. Lots of motion and amazing blurred background.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-07-12 8:55]

Hello Pekka,
A great in-flight of a Barn Owl, a species so rare in Sweden that its status is kept secret. Great timing, sharpness and composition from an excellent POV that makes this shot first class.
TFS this rare beauty,

Well I am impressed. I've always wanted to shoot a barn owl but as you say they are hard to nab!! You did a super panning job!!! The extender seems to work well on that f4 lens.

Evelynn : )

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-07-12 9:53]

Hi Pekka,

There is only one word for this - Amazing! This Barn Owl in flight is fantastic. You captured this one in a perfect position with the raised wing and the face so visible. Beautiful natural colors and wonderful lighting. Superb details of the face, and all the plummage. You should be thrilled with this fine shot.


Hi Pekka,

Fantastic capture,Lighting,colours and definition are excellent.

this is an amazing shot of this owl in flight!pewrfect timing!

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-07-12 10:51]

Hi Pekka. This is a fantastic inflight shot of this beautiful Barn Owl. Your sharp focusing has given fine detail and naatural colours.I like the BG in this one. well done TFS.

Hello Pekka
this is really wonderful capture of barn owl. I meet the species in many times. I never met such a great pose. Yours great with sharp details, POV and composition also. Coloration and lighting great. Thanks for sharing, have a nice weekend

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-07-12 13:59]

Congratulations Pekka!!
I know you were really wanting to get a decent shot of a Barn Owl and here it is :-D
What a spectacularly awesome photo!
It's quite literally perfect!

Exceptionally well done,

p.s this one's going into my favs!

Hello Pekka,
thanks for sharing this fantastic shot,

  • Great 
  • Nilson Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 488 W: 0 N: 566] (4423)
  • [2008-07-12 17:06]

Exelente foto muito bem fotografada e com qualidades ótima parabéns.

Hello Pakka,
My first encounter of a inflight Barn Owl!
compliment for such beautiful shot with a full stratched wings! the image is real sharp with very nice colour and details
I loved this composition a lot and much appreciated for the effort from heart!
best regards from NZ

This is one of the best flight shots of the bird i have ever seen. The wings are frozen and direction space makes it a very good composition!
Goutham R

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-07-13 1:16]

hello pekka, How you managed to take such a superb shot on the move. Well done. Ganesh

Hi Pekka, superb flying owl with fantastic details, great focus and splendid sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

Hi Pekka,
A lovely capture of this beautiful barn owl in flight. Superb details and a lovely composition with very good timing. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Great 
  • cloud Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 497 W: 111 N: 1535] (9539)
  • [2008-07-13 3:09]

Hello Pekka,
Such great photo isn't many here lately. Superb light, BG, POV and everything other.
Regards, Pawel

Hi Pekka
Fantastic action shot with amazing fine details and wonderful color tones
Great moment and timing
tfs jon

hello Pekka

WOW ! what a beautiful close-up and in-flight shot of the Barn Owl,
fine POV and framing, excellent sharpness and details
of the owl's plumage, TFS


Hello Pekka
I spotted this picture yesterday when I was just about to go out.
There is really little I can say about it apart from...Stunning and brilliant camera work!!
All the Best

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-07-15 8:27]

Hello Pekka! Fantastic shot of this flying Owl! Impressive sharpness and a very good panning! Well done, thanks!


  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-07-15 13:28]

Hi Pekka,
Very good in flight photo of this lovely Barn Owl. I like the lighting, soft color tones, background, composition and pose you captured a lot. TFS

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-07-15 22:15]

Hello Pekka

Just marking the post for now


Your images are as always stand out and stand alone. this is the first I have very seen of the owl in daytime caught in flight. You must haev been very well pleased! And if so I can see why!

Great capture.

Hello Pekka ,
very difficult to capture this erratic flyer , excellent result , TFS .

really fantastci capture, great composition and very good background, TFS Ori

Hi Pekka,

Fantastic shot, the BG is perfect for this subject with these 3 colours, and the position of wings is just perfect. The picture is dinamic but the atmosphere (the feeling) is .... SILANCE.... silently.
Barvo, good job.

All the best.
Cezar t.

Hello Pekka,

Many thanks for the feedback much appreciated, mate you have a stunning image collection I'm just heading of to work so I will be back to have a good look though your work. This is an awrsom shot, stunning detail, beautiful colours, really stands out from the OOF background, and the back light coming though the wings is just perfect, excellent work mate, all the best,

Cheers Rick :)

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