Who says life’s a hoot?
It’s tough being an owl, as wildlife photographer Russell Savory has discovered
Barn owl Missing Claw is pining for his long-term love, Stripetail, and his cries ring out through the night as he calls for her.
For four years running, the pair have reunited to mate, but it’s spring again and Stripetail is late. It seems she may not have survived the winter or has found a younger partner.
For Missing Claw, this is another challenge he must face, but luckily he’s a fighter.
‘There’s a reason he’s survived five years and it’s because he’s a good hunter,’ says wildlife photographer
Russell Savory in a two-part documentary about owls in rural Essex.
In fact, it was through hunting that Missing Claw gained his name.
‘He went in for a vole and when he came out he limped. Then the claw dropped out.’
For 15 years, Russell has studied owls at an abandoned airfield that is home to Britain’s five native species. In the documentary, hidden cameras track the birds through winter, spring and
The programme also focuses on sweethearts Geronimo and Flo, two little owls who lay their eggs in a nesting box, which a squirrel is determined to take over. If it succeeds, the pair’s offspring will die…
Despite all the ups and downs, Russell’s devoted to owl-watching. ‘They walk very much like someone in a top hat and tails and have a facial expression that changes,’ he says.
‘For comedy, you can’t beat a little owl!’
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