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Powerful Owl

Powerful Owl
Photo Information
Copyright: Chris Chafer (sandpiper2) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1906 W: 107 N: 4875] (16757)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-08-31
Categories: Birds
Camera: Fujifilm Finepix S5000, Fujinon 10X zoom
Exposure: f/3.2, 1/56 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Birds of Australia, Owls all over the world [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2005-09-06 6:17
Viewed: 5735
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
During the 1980s I spent quite a bit of time in the bush at night studying the largest owl in Australia, the Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua). I was particularly interested in their foraging ecology and I’m pleased that the research papers I published has led to a better understanding of this impressive hunter. These guys prey on possums, gliders, young koala, bush rats, feral cats and occasionally birds they find roosting. Although they usually concentrate on the most abundant arboreal mammal in their range, they will take whatever prey species opportunity provides and any animal up to about 1kg in weight is a potential meal, though an animal 100-500g is more usually the victim.
They’re a large owl (standing 66cm), and those imposing yellow talons are the size of man’s hand.
They range through the forests of eastern Australia south from the Tropic of Capricorn and usually require a foraging territory of several hundred hectares. During the day, they roost on limbs under the canopy and if you’re lucky enough to find one, they will allow relatively close approach before flying off silently.
Pairs apparently mate for life and raise one or two young per season; the nest is in a large hollow limb or usually the trunk of very old trees.
Once I was lucky enough to have one of these masters of the night fly towards me along a forest track and land on limb a few metres above my head. The clunk that was made as the those powerful feet wrapped around the tree branch sent shivers down my spine, a sound I shall never forget.
I spent perhaps a hundred hours watching these owls in their natural environment, and I was always excited when I found one, especially in their day roost, as they often held the remains on the previous nights meal in the talons. On one occasion, I was leading a group of birdwatchers to a roost I knew in the Royal National Park near Sydney. Here we found a female clutching a dead ring-tail possum, about the size of a domestic cat. Nearby were two young. As we watched they flew over to the adult, who promptly started tearing pieces off the possum and feeding them to the young. We watched this for over half an hour and needless to say the birdwatchers were very happy with their afternoon in the forest.
This one is a captive bird taken at Featherdale Wildlife Park in western Sydney. Photo taken through cage wire with the lens resting on the wire to steady the camera.

ddg, sAner, thistle, dew77, Alan_Kolnik, marhowie, wallhalla15, liquidsunshine, Signal-Womb, tjasa, coasties, fthsm has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • ddg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 867 W: 24 N: 1008] (5507)
  • [2005-09-06 6:39]

Bonjour Chris, very good close up with a nice composition. Sharpness, colors and Bg are perfect.Very well done. Didier.

Superb post Chris!
First of all lovely shot with good quality and lighting. The POV is very good though I would maybe want to see a bit more space over the head.
I really enjoyed your note. It's very interesting and informative.
Overall, excellent job.

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2005-09-06 7:45]

Hello Chris!
Wonderful capture.Clear eyes are amazing.POV,DOF,sharpness,details and composition are excellent.TFS...:-)

Really outstanding shot - very clear and sharp, and those claws and eyes tell it all ...

Hello Chris, This has great details, exposure, color and POV. I'm impressed that you have taken so much time to study their foraging habits. Excellent note - Well done!

Nice portrait shot Chris, great sharpness and DOF, well captured too. Thanks for sharing

Very good shot Chris,
Very good exposure, nicely composed, good colours and well detailed. Interesting notes.
Very well captured, thanks for posting

Love the low POV on this Chris and the intense stare he is giving you. Like others have said the composition is a little tight near the head otherwise a fine shot. 6/10 Well done.

  • Great 
  • tjasa Gold Star Critiquer [C: 100 W: 0 N: 84] (602)
  • [2005-09-07 4:57]

great shot! First I saw owl`s eyes, they are beautiful ! really good picture, nice catch!

Hi Chris

Lovely big clear bright eyes. Perfect exposure. Good light and colour. Nice work. Thanks.

  • Great 
  • optic Gold Star Critiquer [C: 322 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2005-09-07 21:11]

Hi Chris,
You did a great portrait, nice composition and clear details, sharpness is very well. Interesting note, thanks for posting.


  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2005-09-07 22:37]

Belle prise, cet oiseau est magnifique. Les détails du plumage et le regard sont parfaits.

félicitations !

  • Great 
  • fthsm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 172 W: 56 N: 512] (3689)
  • [2007-08-23 4:55]

Hi Chris,
I have a list of birds to see in Australia and this giant is also in the list. Thanks for infomative note and sharing.

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