Young owls ready to take flight

THEY might be little more than three months old, but these three young owls are ready to take to the skies.

John Howard

THEY might be little more than three months old, but these three young owls are ready to take to the skies.

The three birds - Auckland, Hades and Bali - have been trained since their births at the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary, in Stonham Aspal, near Stowmarket, by experienced falconer Dean Winham.

Young Auckland is ready to fly, Hades can manage about 15 feet and Bali can jump from his perch to his falconer's glove for food, which is his first step towards launching himself into the skies.

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Mr Winham said: “It is lovely to see them taking their first steps. I have been with them from day one. You rear them, they come home with you, you care for them.

“To get them ready to fly is fantastic, it's like seeing your child getting on a bike and ride for the first time, it's marvellous.

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“They are beautiful, with striking colours and families love seeing them.”

The three are developing quite distinct personalities as Auckland makes a cricket sound and constantly swivels his head as if to talk to people, Hades loves posing for the cameras and Bali sleeps most of the time.

All three were born at the sanctuary, which has about 95 birds, and are aged between three and three-and-a-half months.

Auckland is from the boobok family, Bali is from the Malaysian wood breed and Hades is a European Eagle Owl.

A boobok is similar to a tawny, originates from Australia, and enjoys eating insects and small rodents.

The Malaysian Wood breed hunts small mammals and birds and is typically founds in habitats stretching from India, across Burma and into China, as well as in Sri Lanka, down through Malaysia and into Indonesia.

Hades is a magnificent bird, from the largest owl family in the world, an awesome hunter, able to kill foxes and small deer with its powerful beak and fearsome talons. His feathers are soft, to allow him to glide silently and unheard when hunting.

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