Birds are unpredictable. Birds of prey, even if in captivity, even if raised by humans, and imprinted on humans, are always wild, no matter what. And that makes them unpredictable, sometimes.
Owls are a particularly good point in case, because they’re so hard to train. 60 % of their skull is taken up by their eyes, so you can imagine that there’s not much room for anything else, like, say, a brain… so contrary to popular belief, owls are actually quite stupid. (sorry, owls!) And they get spooked very easily, because their hearing is so fantastic that the slightest thing (like somebody sneezing) can totally throw them off course and freak them out. And, every now and then, they fly off.
The Canadian Great Horned Owl, imaginatively named ‘Owls’, did that the other day – he got spooked during a flight display, and off he went. Sat in a tree for a good few hours, and could not be persuaded to come down. Of course not, he’d just had food, why then should he have come down to those humans waving food at him… The birds don’t fly for pleasure. They don’t fly to please us. They only fly for food. And if they’re not hungry, they won’t fly at all, and that’s that. – here he is, sitting in a tree, looking slightly spooked!

Eventually, Owls had enough of being mobbed by crows (that were, understandably, none too happy with a big owl in their tree), and flew down to the ground, where the falconers could pick him up, and bring him back home again.
Fun and games, and it never gets boring.


~ by Simone on May 15, 2010.

8 Responses to “Escapist”

  1. I like the second’s like he saying “on guard” and doing a dance at the same time.

  2. Great action shot !!!

  3. neat comment to your owl captured in the tree…
    whaat an incredible photo added to your site, that owl appears to be captive???

    • Yes, all the birds of prey you’ll see on here are captive – I volunteer at a bird of prey centre nearby (, and this is where I take all these pictures of these amazing animals!

  4. After looking around here for a few days, I think I’m a bit jealous. :) Working with birds, you get some amazing photographic opportunities. I’ve been really enjoying looking around. The bottom shot is wonderful. The eye contact is killer!

    • heehee, thanks Sean! I’m glad you like my photographs. And you’re right, it is an amazing thing to be doing, and I absolutely love it.

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