Owen’s Winter Diary

While we have been closed for our winter maintenance, our Bird Team have been busy working hard to make sure our grounds are in tip-top condition and our birds’ homes are ready ahead of the breeding season! We caught up with Bird Team member Owen Lincoln to find out what he’s been working on, and what he’s looking forward to the most as we enter our most festive time of year.

“Winter’s coming…this special season is fun and enjoyable, but has a completely different feel at the Hawk Conservancy Trust! Especially during the short periods that we are closed for undertaking our annual winter maintenance work.

During our November closed period, while there are no visitors around (except for the selected Behind the Scenes Winter Experience guests) it gives the rest of the team and myself a chance to work towards the upcoming breeding season – such an important time at the Trust. We usually take this opportunity to move some of our birds around to new, revamped aviaries and complete any maintenance work that is required.

An aviary move during this recent closed period was really exciting for me – a striking pair of our White-headed Vultures, Arthur and Mamba, came to live with on the middle section of the grounds, the section where I work, while their usual home in our off-show aviaries received it’s yearly spruce-up!

It’s really important that we work to give their aviaries a thorough clean-out before the breeding season begins, as is the case for all of our paired-up birds, so when they enter this crucial season we can leave them to their own devices as much as possible. Giving the birds some privacy at this time means their courtship can go uninterrupted, and they can become a really closely bonded pair.

It was my honour to care for Arthur and Mamba during this time. I loved having a new species of bird to work with and say hello to everyday on my section. I’m sure many of you are aware by now of my fascination and personal love for vultures! So this was a real highlight.

Now that we have reopened , I really do enjoy the changeover of the summer flying displays into our returning winter display – A World Of Birds of Prey. This flying display is a chance to see birds from all over the globe show off their incredible flying styles while learning more about them. As is the same for many of our visitors, one of my favourite parts of this display is watching Sweeney Todd, our beautiful Snowy Owl, fly. Working alongside her never tires – her majestic appearance and diva-esq personality always steals the show and captivates the crowds who have braved the cold in the winter!

I look forward to welcoming you all back to the Trust soon – on your next return visit, I am sure you will notice a fair few changes following our closed period! I’d also like to wish you all a safe and happy Christmas season!



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