Although I am primarily a wedding photographer based in Kent, I was delighted to be invited to a private photoshoot with Wise Owl Bird of Prey Rescue, a family business based between Huddersfield & Wakefield.
The Coronavirus pandemic has meant my camera hasn't had much action this year, so a photoshoot with some good looking birds seemed a fantastic idea, (Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun). Organised by multi-award winning wedding photographer, Chris Chambers, I travelled to the beautiful Hazlewood Castle in North Yorkshire where a handful of fellow photographers joined us for a few hours, socially distanced of course.
Wayne, who runs Wise Owl Bird of Prey Rescue alongside his wife Katrina, introduced us to 10 different owls across the afternoon, not only allowing us to take photographs, but also answering all of our questions, whilst sharing interesting stories and information about each owl. Did you know that owls eat their prey whole (including the bones) then spit the rest out? Ergh!
We watched in awe as the owls took turns posing for us, flying through the woodland and returning again; their wings glided almost silently and it was a truly amazing experience. Thankfully, despite my lack of practice recently, I haven't forgotten how to be a photographer & I am really pleased with some of the photographs I captured.
It's hard to decide which owl was my favourite; Orville was one of the little owls and I know Jessica and Bethany would have liked me to have snuck him home because he was really cute. I also liked Willow who is an Eurasian Eagle Owl, he was surprisingly heavy when I held him, but was fantastically trained and had really piercing eyes.
Hearing tales of how some of these magnificent birds had been found as abandoned pets or were struggling in the wild made me really appreciate the dedication by Wise Owl Bird of Prey Rescue; It is solely through their determination that many of these creatures are even alive. To care for so many different birds of prey, each with their own quirky personality and demands must be an extremely hard job but it is clear they have a real passion and love for each one of their creatures.
Just like many animal sanctuary's across the country, Wise Owl Bird of Prey Rescue has been finding the Coronavirus outbreak tough financially. Although the rescue centre is never usually open to the visiting public, the team instead operate on a mobile basis visiting local schools, fetes, shows & private events to allow others to experience and learn about the amazing birds of prey in their care. As all schools and events have been closed or cancelled, the team have not been receiving as many donations during lockdown and therefore I was pleased to be able to support Wise Owl Bird of Prey Rescue further by donating an additional £250.00 and hope that our paths will cross again in the future.
As a photographer with a love for nature, I am really pleased I attended the photoshoot and even as an adult found the whole experience to be highly educational. It was fantastic to be out in the fresh air & feel a sense of normality after so long in lockdown. I can imagine the larger displays are really enjoyable for families and hope that the team at Wise Owl Bird of Prey Rescue will be able to showcase their talents to the wider public again soon. If you have enjoyed my photographs and would like to support them, please give them a follow on Facebook or if you are in a position to donate then you can do so on their website.