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NED Talk 4: The Owls’ Story

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

In the fourth of our series of online Network Evening Drinks (NED) Talks, Jane Bain gave an illustrated lecture on the families of Tawny Owls that she has been photographing for the last few years. Readers of her Nature Diary in the Newsletter will not be surprised to hear that the photography was stunning; and the talk was both entertaining and informative.

The talk was, in fact, an interesting blend of two quite separate themes. On the one hand, it was a look at the fascinating lifestyle of Tawny Owls – where they live, when they breed, how long it takes for their young (‘owlets’, we learned) to leave and find their own territory. We heard the secret of owls’ silent flight (it’s all in the feathers) and learnt something of their ophthalmic anatomy (massive, tubular eyeballs!).

On the other hand, the talk was also an explanation as to how, why and (with some deliberate obfuscation) where Jane takes her photos. Technical references to lenses and focal lengths were covered briefly at the end but although kit is obviously important, what we also came to understand was the importance of patience, resilience, a degree of fitness and a good knowledge of how the birds behave and react.

If you would like to watch a video of Jane’s Talk, a link to view it will be available until 10th November. Please contact Gill Wareing for details.

Our next NED Talk will be on Wednesday 11th November when Penny Mesure will be discussing her involvement in comedy opera, in a talk entitled ‘from La Triviata to Shakespeare and Sullivan’. For details, please see the Events section of our website at