Owls in the News

Owls have been at the centre of several dramatic news stories in London over the past fortnight.

The first incident was last week, when the Annie the Owl pop-up bar in Soho was postponed (you can read more about the bar here).

Annie the owl and friends were due to appear at the bar last week, where customers would be able to sip cocktails and ‘pet the owls.’

However this idea attracted controversy.

Following this, the organisers released a press release stating that alcohol would no longer be served and the previous charity association had withdrawn their support. (You can read that here.)

The event will now be open 9-14th April.

Organisers say this is in order to:

make sure that birds are in a safer environment and all avenues are taken care of.

Last Friday, spectators grabbed their homemade pinhole viewers and colanders in the hope to see the solar eclipse.

Many found the event disappointing with ‘London Eclipse I’m gutted’ trending on Twitter.

But it was more unpleasant for the owls.

The nocturnal birds of prey were spotted swooping through the skies at 9:30 a.m. and appearing more alert.

Athene noctua (cropped)" by Athene_noctua_(portrait).jpg: Trebol-aderivative work:Stemonitis (talk) - Athene_noctua_(portrait).jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Athene noctua (cropped)” by Athene_noctua_(portrait).jpg: Trebol-aderivative work: Stemonitis (talk) – Athene_noctua_(portrait).jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) are the latest organisation to raise the issue of owl welfare.

They’ve posted a video of undercover filming at the Harry Potter studio tour.

They alleged that their video shows:

distressed birds kept tethered in tiny cages for hours, touched by members of the public, exposed to flash photography and forced to perform tricks at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London.

Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour said it’s essential the welfare of the birds was of the highest standard and had asked Birds and Animals, the company that own and trains them, to review the matter.

Birds and Animals said:

The welfare of our birds and animals is our number one priority and we want to ensure they remain stress-free and healthy.

The owls are always given regular breaks and closely monitored by a vet. Now that we have had the opportunity to see the footage, we have instigated a review of the issues raised. We will take appropriate action to ensure that the birds and animals always receive the very best care.


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