I'm not going to fool anybody that this is an owl in the wild – the tethers dangling from its legs give that away, but it's still quite challenging to get a decent shot at a falconry display. An uncluttered 'natural' background and good focus are quite tough to achieve, though probably easy with owls that with falcons swooping around and greater speeds (I've tried and failed). Set camera to continuous focus and a high shutter speed and try to track it accurately so the autofocus can do its best. Still a bit of a hit and miss affair mind you!

This particular Barn owl is at Willows Farm Village in Hertfordshire, which is incidentally a good fun day out for young children! They have 46 birds in their falconry centre.

I have been lucky enough to see Barn owls in the wild too, flying in daylight at The Lost Gardens of Heligan and at dusk in Norfolk. Note that Barn owls don't go twit-twoo – that is in fact a call/response between female and male Tawny owls, though I heard a lot of that at night in Norfolk too, emanating from the woods.


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