Barn Owl, blood moon

Barn Owls and blood moons are both mystical and magnificent and it seems right to share these images in the same post.


Barn Owl profileBarn Owl (Tyto alba)


Barn Owls can be found across Australia and are believed to be the most widely distributed land-based bird in the world with their presence known in each continent apart from Antarctica. They used to be common but are under threat in parts of Europe and the USA as habitat loss and secondary poisoning from rodenticides take their toll. They roost in dense trees and I’m sure they see us more often than we see them. I have seen them flying at night when the whiteness of their feathers is exaggerated and they look breathtakingly magical. They measure about 30-40cm and hunt in flight, locating prey with their exceptional hearing and offset ears that enable them to precisely pinpoint prey even in complete darkness.


Barn Owl face offBarn Owl (Tyto alba)


Like all birds of prey Barn Owls have an intense stare that makes me glad I’m not a mouse. The sandy, spotty plumage of Barn Owls is striking while the heart-shaped facial disk is endearing but also useful as it channels sound towards the owl’s ears. Owls fly in silence with slow wing beats. The leading and trailing edges of their feathers are ‘fringed’ which reduces the noise made by their wings to a level that is undetectable by people and prey.


Barn Owl squintingBarn Owl (Tyto alba)


I experimented with a monochrome owl image, sometimes I like it but I miss the rich colours that make the Barn Owl such a distinctive bird. Barn Owls breed whenever conditions are suitable, which could be the only positive aspect of a mouse plague. They usually raise between three and six young but broods of up to twelve have been recorded – the sight of twelve little fluff balls would be seriously cute.


Blood Moon 1 - Kim WormaldThe lunar eclipse 1 – April 2015


Blood Moon 2 - Kim WormaldThe lunar eclipse 2 – April 2015


Blood Moon 3 - Kim WormaldThe lunar eclipse – Blood Moon – April 2015


With the sun, the Earth and the moon in alignment the Earth cast its shadow on the moon which gradually became red as it was lit by light scattered by the Earth’s atmosphere. It would have been stunning to see an owl fly in front of this moon.

Happy birding, Kim


Duck Shooting update: Last weekend I went out with the wildlife rescuers and had the sad experience of photographing birds that had been shot, including a Whistling Kite, Australian Pelican and coot. I met with James Merlino MP on Tuesday and presented information about the social and environmental cost of the duck shooting season. He listened with interest but apparently the issue is not currently being discussed by the ALP – what more can we do?


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18 comments to Barn Owl, blood moon

  • What a lovely owl and I love your portrait shots of it! You captured the blood moon amazingly as well (and I’m not surprised you did). I’ve not been honored to get owl shots but I know someday….as for the duck season, you are doing what you feel you need to do and I’m proud of you for talking to the politicos – not at all surprised it isn’t even on their list of conversations – sadly.

    • lirralirra

      Thanks for commenting Sherry. We’ve had north American guests here for the past week and it was interesting to hear them comment on the severe lack of water they observed as they flew across the continent, our waterbirds are suffering in every way at the moment. I hope you get to photograph an owl soon.

  • Glenn A

    Excellent images of the owls – I see a lot of Tawny Frogmouths around here but have never seen a Barn Owl. Ausnet have just installed new much brigher street lights and I wonder whether that will scare the nocturnal creatures away.

    Well done on meeting with the MP – I eventually received a form letter to my duck shooting objection, just spouting the usual rubbish about it being a sustainable “harvest”, and not addressing the real issues. I guess we just have to keep at it.

    • lirralirra

      Please let me know whether the new street lights do seem to make a difference to the Tawny Frogmouths. I hope not but we do so many things to the environment without thinking about the impact on wildlife.

      You’re right about keeping at it, in the words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

  • Dona

    Hi Kim what a beauty your Owl is , reminds me of the owls we had on the barn when I was a kid, Amazing photo of the Moon also, great camera you have there. Have a great day Dona

  • Margot

    I love the second photo of the owl- such intensity in its gaze!

    Also, the photos of the moon are awesome.

  • Alyssa

    Very magical! I actually totally love the monochrome one, I think it would look amazing framed.

    Well done on your meeting with James Merlino! I hope it brings the issue to the forefront of his mind and one day he is able to influence a positive change for our lovely native birdies!

    • lirralirra

      I wasn’t sure about the monochrome version so thanks for letting me know your thoughts.

      I hope James is able to influence a positive change for our native waterbirds, we need a politician with strong enough ethics to go out on a limb and reap the rewards.

  • Joyce Burt

    Great photos. As you say I’m glad I’m not a mouse!

  • Gorgeous pictures of both moon and owl!

  • Wonderful detail and BG in the Barn Owl images and I enjoy reading the informative text that accompanies the photos in your posts.

  • jacob

    Beautiful images. Such detail around the face. Would be great to see a similar series of a Masked Owl, showing the finer details and differences. No pressure 🙂

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