The European Eagle Owl was once fairly common in Britain. However, as is all too common, the birds became extinct in the wild thanks to human persecution. However this wonderful bird has started to reappear in parts of the UK. Eagle Owls are absolutely enormous, you really have to see one in the flesh to appreciate how huge and potentially aggressive this bird is. It’s quite possible for an Eagle Owl to carry off a small deer or fox such is their strength. European Eagle Owls prey on mammals, mostly rabbits and hares and have been known to hunt on other birds and raptors. This has caused some concern about their reintroduction but with monitoring in place it appears that most of those concerns have (so far) been unfounded. This is one reason why these birds may not be welcome and consequently they may never reappear in significant numbers.
I’m fortunate enough to live about an hour away from the British Wildlife Centre in Surrey and I had the chance at the weekend to create this portrait of Ethel.