Prey

Leila Jeffreys 'Prey' series was exhibited at Purdy Hicks London and Olsen Gallery Sydney. Each large scale photograph features a portrait of bird of prey

'Pepper' Southern Boobook

'Pepper' Southern Boobook

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©Leila Jeffreys 2014
Photograph on archival fibre based cotton rag paper
112 x 89 cm, 44 x 35 inch (standard)

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Paul Mander runs Broadwings, a raptor training and rehabilitation centre in Queensland. Rescued as a chick and hand-raised by a caring vet, Pepper the little Southern Boobook is now in Paul’s care, and is simply the cutest owl in town.

We weren’t sure how Pepper would go being photographed, and at first she wasn’t sure either. She kept flying off her perch, preferring to be on the ground. But the transformation was astounding as Paul kept reassuring  and comforting her, the little bird nuzzling into his chest. Her confidence grew so much that she stood up tall on her beautiful little legs and it was a wonderful portrait session.

We had a fan blowing gently to keep her cool as it was the height of Summer; it was only later that I noticed her feathers were not all in place – aided by the gentle breeze, they were accentuated into a little side ruffle.

Paul has tried to release Pepper three times but she keeps coming back. We know she will eventually be brave enough to leave home.

The Southern Boobook is found in most parts of Australia and is our smallest owl –  Pepper was under 30cm tall. They nest in tree hollows, which are important habitats for our native wildlife.