A pair of tiny hand-reared baby burrowing owls have taken to using teacups to roost in during the day.
The owlets nicknamed Linford and Christie, as they were born in the year of the London Olympics, are being cared for by keeper Jimmy Robinson, from the Hawk Conservancy Trust.
The tiny duo will form part of a major new birds of prey display at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park in Wiltshire as part of the ‘Hunters of the Sky’ attraction, which is choreographed and presented by staff and birds from the Trust.
Linford and Christie were both hatched in an incubator at the National Bird of Prey Hospital, a specialist facility at the Trust, and have been hand reared by Jimmy.
“Basically I have to have them with me 24 hours a day, every day and that means taking them home with me in the evening. I have even been getting up in the middle of the night to feed them,” he said.
Found throughout the Americas, the burrowing owl is so named because it lives in underground burrows that have been dug out by small mammals such as prairie dogs and ground squirrels. Unlike most owls they are active during the day.
“As I spend so much time with them they do look at me as their surrogate mum and will follow me around the house or sit on my shoulder. They also enjoy the security of sitting inside their teacups and like to find small spaces on my bookshelf and in between my DVD collection to snuggle up into.
The owls were hatched in February and are now just over six weeks old.
Although they are small birds they do grow incredibly quickly. These little guys will be fully fledged within the next month, their feathers are coming through nicely and they are already getting used to flapping their wings,” added Jimmy.
The owls will begin training very soon and will make their debut in the ‘Hunters of the Sky’ display at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park.