Zoli Ecsedi and I led another tour this autumn to Hungary and one of the key species to find was the Ural Owl. It’s not so simple in finding these creatures in the vast forest of Eastern and Northern Europe.
Sometimes of course, you can have luck and just happen across one, but often you have to have local knowledge, rather than walking out and hoping to find one of these magnificent, nocturnal creatures, resting during daylight hours.
Our bonus was that the owl flew towards us and these photos were such a wonderful gift.
Did you know?
In Germany, Ural Owls became extinct in 1926 when the last individual was shot in the Bohemian Forest.
Through a reintroduction project in the Bavarian Forest National Park, Ural Owls bred for the first time again in the wild in 2007 and by 2014 the population had increased to 15–20 breeding pairs on the border between the Bavarian and Bohemian Forests.
The aggressive behaviour of Ural Owls is quite legendary. They defend their territories and will attack, chase or kill other raptors including other owl species. This behaviour is more common during the breeding season but nevertheless care should be taken, especially with females.A Ural owl female may take considerable risks while defending her brood.
Female Ural owls weigh considerably more that males. At one kilogram the female hits an intruder at speed with talons open often at the cost of her own life, such is the consequence of a full speed crash!