A FLUFFY new addition is capturing the hearts of visitors to the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre.
Isaac, a five-week-old Great great Owl, is quickly settling into his new home in North Anston.
He was collected from a specialist breeder around three weeks ago, still has the downy feathers so characteristic of a young bird but the centre’s bird keepers say he is maturing rapidly.
“Great Grey Owls grow quickly and, in the wild, would actually fledge the nest at approximately three weeks old and become independent quite soon afterwards. Isaac’s wing feathers are well developed already and he has been practising short flights and hops in his enclosure,” explained animal presenter Amanda Sharpe.
The Great Grey Owl is the tallest owl in the world, although not the heaviest, with males reaching up to around twenty-seven inches from head to tail.
Visitors to the wildlife attraction could be seeing Isaac flying freely in the shows very soon.
“Whenever possible, we train our birds as part of the displays,” said animal presenter Heather Scott.
“In my experience, visitors enjoy seeing a work in progress and it’s also very beneficial for Isaac to learn in front of an audience.”
“Getting accustomed from a young age to being in front of lots of people and sometimes loud noises, will help to build his confidence and ensure he is relaxed in the display arena.”
Found across the Northern hemisphere, including northern Asia, North America, Alaska and Finland, the Great Grey Owl is a formidable predator. They have sharp talons and a strong grip and have a special way of locating their main source of prey, small rodents.