Owls have a special way about them. They peer into you and once they have taken your measure, I am not sure that anyone would ever be able to forget such an experience.
I watched as Twilight patiently had his photo taken with people at the event and, at times, refused to look at the camera because someone or something had captured his attention in a different direction.
After the photos were all taken, the show began. It was the first Owl show of it’s kind in Queensland to be held in the evening. Jason, the Raptor Vision owner asked everyone to be quiet when he brought the owls out as this was their first time doing the show in front of a live audience.
They introduced four adult owls – two Barn Owls, an Australian Masked Owl and a Barking Owl and one 27 day old owlet. We learned about habitat and environmental conservation as well as important points on stopping secondary poisoning.
It really was a great night and an opportunity of a lifetime to hold an owl and be in the presence of these amazing birds of prey.
During the show, the owl handlers had several members of the audience participate in the owl flights. These lucky people put the leather glove on to protect their hands and the owl handler called to the owl which flew over the audience and landed on the person’s outstretched hand.
That would have been a very special experience for those people.
Jason had the female Australian Masked Owl, Talon, catch ‘prey.’ It wasn’t an animal, but a stuffed toy and Talon was rewarded with a tasty treat to encourage her to release her talons from the toy.
Talon flew in and took out her prey so fast, it was hard to see, however, you could hear the thump as she caught it. This was really worth going along to the event to see.
The Barking Owl, Eclipse, came out and ‘woofed’ at the crowd when she felt like it, not when Jason asked her to. It was quite funny and adorable.
Jason and Dave discussed how an owl can pinpoint the heartbeat of a rodent with ease just by listening to the sound. We learned that an owl’s facial disk is where it captures sound waves that funnel up into their offset ears.
Once an owl has pinpointed their prey, they fly without taking their eyes off the exact point of the target. At the very last moment, the push their talons forward, pull their wings right back behind their body and close their eyes. That is the moment that their prey is instantly killed. We were told that owls get their prey every time because of their expert hunting skills.
Children asked, “why do they close their eyes?”
And Dave said, “because it stops them from getting injured if their prey fights back. It is for protection.”
It was a great evening with owls and I am looking forward to the next time this opportunity comes my way.