Meet the owls & other birds
We’re not just mad about monkeys, you know! The Haven is also home to various species of owl, from the bright white Arctic Snowy Owl to the tiny Australian Boobook. We’re crazy about other types of birds, too. Kookie the Kookaburra is one of the noisiest and cheekiest creatures you’ll ever meet – he likes a joke and finds visitors very amusing, so don’t be offended if he laughs at you!
Many of our birds have come from zoos and private collections. Others were injured or rescued native birds from the wild. We have a ‘rescue and release’ policy – so that wherever possible, we care for the birds until they are well enough to be released back into the countryside.
Some of our star birds
Plus don’t miss…Boobook Owls: Come and meet our happy family of Boobook Owls. These are the smallest of the Australian owls, and known for their acrobatics, which come in very handy for catching prey such as moths and crickets. Oz and his mate Sheila (pictured here) were re-homed here when a zoo no longer needed them for a breeding programme. They went on to have two baby Boobooks – Bill and Bong – who were born at the Haven.
Buzzards: These European birds of prey have a killer instinct and an appetite for anything from pheasants to snakes. They can perform amazing aerial acrobatics. Emma is an ex falconry bird, who now enjoys her retirement with us. She lives with Nelson (pictured here) who was rescued after being hit by a car, sustaining such severe injuries that he needed to have an eye removed. Unfortunately this means that he can never return to the wild, as he’s lost his ability to hunt.
Little Owls: Little Owl isn’t just a description – it’s a variety of bird with a flat topped head, and a plump body, and we’re lucky enough to have two of them. Kip was found in a hedge with a broken leg. He received veterinary care but unfortunately the damage was so extensive that he can never be returned to the wild. He spent a few months in a leg cast, and is now living happily with his new pal Pip – we gave Pip a new home when his owner couldn’t care for him any more.
Rufous Leg Owls: These striking birds are native to South America and are distinguished by their stripy tums and reddish brown (or ‘rufous’) legs. They make a range of noises including grunting, hooting and cackling. Chico and Chilli came to us from a zoo that was downsizing their collection. Rosie was donated to us from a private owner – she has foot and leg deformities which make her unsuitable for breeding programmes.
Snowy Owls: These giant beauties are very popular with our younger visitors, as they’re the ‘Harry Potter owl’ (Hedwig was a Snowy Owl). Dougal was found in an abandoned property by the Police, and then brought to the Haven. Freda came to us when a private owner could no longer care for her (a sadly familiar story). These owls are from the Arctic – and get whiter as they get older.
Tawny Owl: These are native to England and can often be heard calling at night in the woodlands. They have a ring of dark feathers around their face and dark brooding eyes. Beau is a regular on our Meet the Owl talks. He’s very friendly and likes being stroked. He was donated to us by a private owner who could no longer care for him.
Turkmenian Eagle Owl: Lovely Lunar was found by the RSPCA, flying free in a children’s playground. We rehomed her and held a competition to come up with a suitable name. Primary school pupil Gabriella from Gurnard chose Lunar, as this species mainly hunts at night and under low light. They’re one of the biggest types of owl in the world, with distinctive ‘ear tufts’ on the top of their heads and piercing orange eyes.