Posts Tagged ‘barn owl’

A lion ate this tame barn owl at the Colchester Zoo.

From The London Evening Standard:

Children visiting a zoo were left in tears after an owl taking part in a display was caught and eaten by lions.

Families were horrified when a female lion “clubbed” the bird out of the air before a male pounced and devoured it in front of them.

The barn owl, called Ash, had been taking part in a falconry display with her handler at Colchester Zoo when she accidentally flew over the lion enclosure. Although she landed safely on the side, she was said to have lost her footing and fallen. Seconds later she was killed.

Gavin Duthie, from Colchester, had taken his two-year-old son Daniel to the zoo on Saturday. He said: “Daniel was in tears along with most of the people who were there. Women and children were screaming but it was all over in seconds.

“It’s in the lion’s nature – I have taught Daniel that lions are not fluffy animals. He was very upset.”

Alex Downing, the zoo’s marketing director, said: “We are very sad to report that our little barn owl ‘Ash’ sadly died at the weekend.

Unfortunately she got spooked during an experience and flew right out of the falconry arena and hit the window of another enclosure. She picked herself up and flew onto the roof of the meerkat enclosure where we hoped she’d settle but she was obviously dazed and as a result flew low across the lion enclosure.

“Although she landed on the side of the enclosure she very sadly lost her footing and fell in whereupon she was killed by one of the lions.

“Everyone involved is obviously extremely upset about such a combination of events but there is nothing that anyone could have done at the time to avoid such an awful outcome.

“In 25 years of falconry displays nothing like this has occurred as the birds do normally instinctively know that this isn’t a safe place to go.”

I wonder if any of these children has ever been around a dog or cat that has caught something.

These things happen.

But I think we have a bigger problem.

Nature shows in recent years have tended to sanitize predation.

When I was a child, the nature shows always showed big cats killing things.

That was like the big draw for most these programs.

But now, they tend to overly personalize the animals, which makes explaining predation somewhat more difficult.

I know that a lot of BBC nature films do show predatory sequences. I’ve been told that that new Frozen Planet series had lots of epic predation sequences in it.

Maybe films like these will prepare children for things like this.

Personally, if I had been at a zoon when I was a boy and saw a lion kill an owl, I would have been totally pumped!

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Barn owl doesn’t like dogs

And the owl freaks the little poodly dog out. Big time.


I’ve always thought barn owls were cool, even though they are not found in my part of the country.


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Barn owl falconry


Owls are not related to the traditional raptors, the Falconiformes and Accipitriformes.

They are actually more closely related to¬†Caprimulgiformes (“Goat suckers”). The best known goat sucker around these parts is the whip-poor-will.

Owls are generally not as easy to train for falconry as the traditional raptors, but they can be trained.

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I had no idea barn owls were like this. I have seen this book, but I never looked at it. I guess I’m going to have to check it out.


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