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Thread: Owl question

  1. #1
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Owl question

    There is a georgeous young barn owl who spends a goodly part of each night sitting on a fence close to my property. I want a picture of this beautiful bird but I am concerned that the flash will adversely impact it. Does anyone know if it is safe for the owl if I fire a flash at it?

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Owl question

    Hi Richard,

    A quick google came up with this, which seems to be common sense, read the whole page to the bottom though.

    I recently went on a Birds of Prey photography day and we were advised that the many owls (and other BoP) we would photograph would not be harmed by use of flash - although obviously this was on a bright sunny day anyway, so the loss of dark adaption wasn't a relevant consideration in our case.

    What would I do?
    TBH I don't know; until recently I'd not seen an owl in the wild, but did briefly about 2 weeks ago on a sunny morning, it was on a verge while I was driving past and flew off and didn't return to the spot, so no pics Maybe the squeal of brakes and hand brake turn put it off (I'm kidding)

    In your situation, I probably would be tempted, despite my current position that it might be unwise
    Perhaps start from a fair distance away and see if it 'spooks'? May take several nights.

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 6th July 2010 at 12:04 AM.

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    Have a guess :)

    Re: Owl question

    Perhaps you could start with an extreme-ISO shot with minimal flash (from a distance) to see if the animal is bothered by it?

    I'm guessing that like most things, you could probably build up it's tolerance with a bit of patience.

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    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: Owl question

    I took this owl shot just after midnight while camping. There is a very long and funny story but the bottom line is the bird sat there while I fell over myself a number of times to get the shot. It was not worried about the flash at all. I have found most animals (horses, large cats, birds) relate flash to lightening, which they all encounter.

    This is a rare Marbled Frog Mouth, I was about 6 feet away and had endless trouble trying to focus. The auto focus could not pick up a contrasty edge and had had left my glasses in the tent. I took many shots and it just sat there looking at me. I went back to bed before it flew away.

    So I would not worry about flash and birds.

    Owl question

  5. #5
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Owl question

    Hah! How the owl could laugh at you falling over when it has its head on backwards is beyond me

    Seriously, that's a good shot of an owl type I've never seen/heard of before, perhaps we don't have them in UK.

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    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: Owl question

    Hi Dave,
    It surprised me too when I looked closely at it. We have the Tawney Frogmouth and Papuan Frogmouth. The former is very similar and the latter a rufus colouring. I sent a copy to the Queensland Ornithological Society for confirmation. Apart from some minor variations in feathering the real give away is the orange eye colouring.
    They live in two very small colonies quiet some distance apart. One is almost at the tip of Australia on Cape York Peninsula and the other on the coast in Southern New South Wales (say London to Moscow in distance).
    I have a good shot of the Tawney Frogmouth but haven’t yet seen the Papuan. We are well and truly blessed by the birds we have in Australia.

  7. #7
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Owl question

    Thanks all - tomorrow night I have a date with a night owl! Oh, I meant... a barn owl...

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    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: Owl question

    Hi Richard,

    Make sure you post a copy so we can all enjoy it.

  9. #9
    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: Owl question

    Hi Richard,

    Just wondering how you got on with that owl photo. I do enjoy bird photograpghy so I hope the little fellow is still around for you to get an image or two.

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