Of all the species to be found in urban Britain, the Tawny Owl has the accolade of being the most unnoticed. Needless to say, few of us are ever that far from one, but owing to their nocturnal habits, most city dwellers go through their lives blissfully unaware of their existence. Tawny Owls are found throughout Europe (although famously not in Ireland), North Africa, as well as into central Russia. Famed for its exceptional night vision, it has now been found that its sight is no better than ours. It’s the bird’s amazing hearing that is key to its hunting success. And when it comes to food, its normal quarry are small rodents but in urban areas small birds are also on the menu. Tawny Owls belong to the genus Strix, that contains around 15 species, including the fearsome Ural Owl. In common with most members of the genus, the Tawny Owl is not to be messed around with, especially around its nest site, as the late pioneering photographer Eric Hosking found, much to his chagrin. He famously lost an eye to the claw of an attacking owl!