Wednesday 4th September 2013
On Friday, which was the 30th of August, I did, what is now the daily 12.30pm slot; 'Meet the Keeper'. I used 'Dusk', the European Eagle Owl. This is a session where visitors can see one of the birds up close, and, if inclined, ask questions. I told our audience all about European Eagle Owls. Dusk was, by her standards, quite well behaved, even spreading her wings for some happy snappers. This continued right to the end, when I got ready to put her back in her aviary. All of a sudden, it was like a switch had been flicked; she suddenly had this almighty tantrum, and went into a blind rage, first locking onto my, (thankfully gloved), fist, and then baiting off, hanging there like some ponderously graceless fruit bat! Her eyes took on a very determined, but oddly glazed look, as if she had made her mind up she wasn't going to listen to any reason, (fat chance with Eagle Owls at the best of times!). Unfortunately, whilst hanging there, she had taken it upon herself to clamp onto the swivel and leash, thereby rendering me unable to undo her from my fist. As always, these situations invariably draw an audience. It took me around 15 minutes to persuade her to let go. These are some of the joys of working with Eagle Owls!
I encountered some slightly different problems yesterday. A TV film crew came to do some filming for a re location programme. In this they have to extol the virtues of the region, as well as the properties up for sale. My role was to talk about owls and conservation, as the particular couple which were interested in moving to Cumbria, were also interested in conservation. Not a problem you would have thought, except every time one of us opened our mouth for a take, there would be screaming and/or screeching in the back ground. At one stage, upon engaging in 'scripted conversation', a sound like a heavy cart horse came from the lane down the side of the Owl Centre. Imagine our surprise, when the source of this noise turned out to be a lone woman with some unusually resonant heels!
See you next week
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The World Owl Trust is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA). The Trust relies on a dedicated membership, visitors, donations and legacies.