Video: Kestrel faces down a barn owl in candid footage

Both the violent and gentle nature of birds of prey have been captured in this revealing video footage shot in North Yorkshire.

A scene from the CCTV footage

Wildlife artist Robert Fuller has installed cameras in nesting sites in his garden for a new exhibition at his gallery in Thixendale.

In the first of two videos shared with The Yorkshire Post, a kestrel is seen swooping in on a nesting spot already occupied by a barn owl.

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It appears to show the kestrel laying claim to the cosy spot by acting aggressively towards the more timid owl.

Tempers fray and the birds become embroiled in a fight.

Separate footage shows a tawny owl nesting with her young chicks.

Mr Fuller had the perfect view of all the action, having rigged his cameras up to screens in his gallery.

He said: “It was very exciting when I walked into the room and saw the barn owl in the kestrel box on the CCTV camera. I’ve been watching this barn owl for weeks. It had chosen a box in the back garden and had been trying to attract a mate to it.

A scene from the CCTV footage

“It hadn’t been having much luck and I noticed it had been checking out the kestrel’s box on the other side of my house during the day.”

He continued: “It was just looking in the box when the female kestrel swooped down and knocked it into the box. The male kestrel hung about at the entrance hole and they both effectively trapped the barn owl in!

“A vicious battle ensued. I’ve never seen anything like it! It was so brutal I had to stop myself from going down to intervene.

“I’ve been watching this pair of kestrels since 2006 and feel as though they are part of the family – even though the kestrel was the aggressor it was very hard to watch it as the barn owl went for it with its long talons. The fight went on for over an hour.

“The barn owl eventually won, by literally standing its ground.

“Thankfully the kestrels have now moved to the barn owl’s former box and settled in there, so they have effectively swapped boxes. It’s as if the barn owl just decided it didn’t fancy it’s box anymore and it would like to acquire this more spacious residence – and it appeared to have worked – the barn owl then attracted a new mate to this box!”

Visitors to Mr Fuller’s gallery can watch action unfold on the screens in his gallery as part of a new ‘Secret Spring’ exhibition which is open every day until 4.30pm, including the May bank holiday.

• For the full story behind the new exhibition see Country Week, your weekly 20-page pull out covering rural affairs in this Saturday’s edition of The Yorkshire Post.