As the days get longer and the temperature rises, the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary welcomes visitors back to its spacious landscaped grounds.
Over the winter months, the falconry team have taken the opportunity to renovate and develop the site, with impressive new aviaries and flying facilities. As an ecologically aware charity, keen to raise the profile of conservation issues, the sanctuary also endeavours to maintain the highest standards of bird welfare. To this end, tweaks have been made to the format of the new season’s flying demonstrations to enable birds to spend less time tethered and on the glove.
A new aviary block has been designed to enable all birds in the flying team to access the flying ground in free flight, through large hatches built into their accommodation. The falconers will no longer require birds to sit on perches or in weatherings whilst awaiting their ‘spot’ in demonstrations – the owls and other birds of prey will be free to make their entrance to proceedings unrestrained.
Training for this eventuality has demanded a huge investment of time and patience by the whole falconry team and has required the re-training of all the birds used to exhibit their natural behaviours, at close quarters, to visitors.
Hopefully, the dramatic sight of the birds entering the flying arena independently will prove to have been an excellent use of many weeks of the falconers’ time.
Displays are still scheduled to take place twice daily, at 11.30am and 2.30pm with a different selection of birds flying in each event. This enables visitors to spend plenty of time in the company and close proximity of these awesome creatures.
The centre’s pretty Woodland Walk remains the preserve of the shy red squirrels and cheeky meerkat family and offers plenty of accommodation for bug and mini-beast life in the form of ladybird houses, a bug hotel, hedgehog wigwam and wildlife pond.
Meerkat feeding sessions take place twice daily, at 10.30am and 2pm and include an informative talk.
The sanctuary’s play area is equipped with a wheelchair accessible roundabout, double width slide (for children plus carers), a large multi child swing and tumble safe surface. There are plenty of well spaced picnic areas within the sanctuary with wheelchair friendly tables and for those requiring a hot meal, the Bistro At The Barns is a stone’s throw away. Level tarmac paths ensure ease of travel around the centre for wheelchairs and buggies – the former are available on loan for the duration of a visit. A unique owl gift shop completes the visitor experience.
For further details please phone 0345 680 7897 or visit the website at www.owl-help.org.uk