Photographer Captures Incredible Battle Between Hawk and Owl

Split image: left side shows two birds of prey in mid-flight over a grassy field, one higher in the air and the other closer to the ground; right side shows a close-up of the same birds engaging in aerial combat, with wings spread wide and talons outstretched.

Photographer Jack Lodge has spent over 30 evenings and early mornings with barn owls in the U.K. but has never witnessed anything as dramatic as what he captured last weekend.

Lodge tells PetaPixel that he has never seen another predator try and take a barn owl’s catch until a hungry hawk showed up on Friday night.

“The Sun had just begun its descent after three hours of waiting patiently in a local field, leaving what was a beautiful golden field to turn quickly into shadow and (in my head) my chances of getting a good wildlife photograph being left behind,” he explains. “Little did I know, this tranquil evening was about to turn into a high-stakes drama.”

Lodge writes on his blog that he followed the “elegant” barn owl as it glided over the field and swiftly dived to catch its rodent prey. But a hawk had arrived on the scene and Lodge says his “heart raced” when he realized he was about to witness a thrilling clash.

A barn owl flies through the air holding prey in its talons, with its wings spread wide. Another bird of prey follows behind in the background, both against a backdrop of dense green foliage.
The hawk closely follows the owl after the latter has caught its prey.
A bird of prey and a barn owl entangled mid-flight against a blurred green background. The owl grasps the talon of the larger bird, and both have their wings spread wide in a dynamic display.
The pair battle mid-air.
A dramatic moment of two birds of prey mid-flight, locked in a fierce aerial battle. One bird, darker with spread wings, appears dominant, while the other, lighter in color, tries to escape. The background consists of blurry green foliage, adding depth to the scene.
The owl begins to dive downward to escape the bigger predator.
A barn owl flies low over a grassy field while a larger bird of prey, possibly a hawk, hovers above, claws extended as if in pursuit. The background shows dense green foliage and blurred trees.
The owl’s agility allows it to escape the hawk.

“I could hardly contain my excitement as I clicked away with my Canon R5 and RF 100-500mm lens, capturing each moment of this fierce competition. The determination in the buzzard’s eyes and the resilience of the barn owl were a stark reminder of nature‚Äôs relentless struggle for survival.”

Common hawks are confusingly known as buzzards in the U.K. but semantics aside the barn owl won the competition and saw off the raptor totally unscathed as it was back hunting for its next meal just minutes later.

“This encounter was a humbling reminder of the delicate balance in nature and the constant fight for survival that unfolds daily, often unnoticed by human eyes — a truly amazing encounter to witness, let alone photograph,” adds Lodge.

A person holds a DSLR camera displaying a close-up photo of an owl mid-flight catching prey in its talons. The DSLR settings and buttons are visible around the camera screen. The background features foliage and a stone path.
What a feeling to see the image on the back of the camera.

Patience is Key

Lodge is a young, yet accomplished photographer who has already proven patience to be a great asset after he waited four years to capture a perfect sunburst shot of the iconic Durdle Door landmark on the south coast of England.

“Wildlife photography often involves long hours of waiting. Stay patient, and your perseverance will pay off,” Lodge says while also advising photographers to “familiarize yourself with your camera settings to quickly adapt to the dynamic changes in wildlife scenes.”

Lodge is a professional landscape photographer who operates photography courses. More of his work can be found on his Instagram, Facebook, Threads, and website.

Image credits: Photographs by Jack Lodge