Eric Hosking

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Eric John Hosking OBE (October 2, 1909 – February 22, 1991) was an English photographer noted for his bird photography.

Hosking was born in London. Although he pioneered several techniques for bird photography, during the first 10 years of his photography career, Hosking was not successful in being published. His breakthrough came after news coverage of an accident when Hosking was attacked by a tawny owl during a photo shoot, resulting in the loss of his left eye. The coverage launched Hosking to fame, creating a market for his bird photographs.

Hosking's most famous image is Barn Owl with Prey of 1936. His most widely read book is An Eye for a Bird, his autobiography published in 1970. Hosking was one of a few photographers who were able to earn a living by taking images only of birds. His movie footage was used in the 1944 war film, Tawny Pipit. However, the birds depicted were actually meadow pipits because he could not access genuine tawny pipits in the German-occupied Europe of World War II.[1]

Hosking was president of the Nature Photographic Society, vice president of the British Ornithologists' Union, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the British Naturalists' Association and honorary vice president of the Royal Photographic Society. He was awarded the Gold Medal of the RSPB in 1974, and received an OBE in 1977 for his natural history photography and work in conservation.[2]


  • Friends at the Zoo (1933)
  • Intimate Sketches from Bird Life (1940)
  • Art of Bird Photography (1944)
  • Birds of the Day (1944)
  • Birds of the Night (1945)
  • More Birds of the Day (1946)
  • The Swallow (1946)
  • Masterpieces of Bird Photography (1947)
  • Birds in Action (1949)
  • Birds Fighting (1955)
  • Bird Photography as a Hobby (1961)
  • Nesting Birds (1967)
  • An Eye for a Bird (1970)
  • Eric Hosking's Birds - Fifty Years of Photographing Wildlife with Kevin MacDonnell, Pelham Books (1979) ISBN 0-7207-1163-0
    • Foreword by Tory Peterson
    • Dedicated "To the memory of my mother and father who understood my love of birds"



  1. ^ Moss, Stephen. "Brits and their birds". BBC Wildlife Magazine. Retrieved 9 December 2010. 
  2. ^ Eric Hosking's Birds
  • Frühzeit der Naturphotographie by Fritz Pölking.
  • Obituary in British Birds Magazine by Guy Mountfort, Volume 84, p. 308-9
  • An Eye for a Bird - Eric Hosking (1970)