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Hoots Owls

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   Hoots Owls FAQs

We frequently get asked questions before being booked for visits so we have decided to add a “frequently asked questions” section to our site to help our customers.

Birds or prey are now very popular and can be seen more and more at public events and the public can now get up close and personal with these amazing creatures fairly easily.

Working with any type of wildlife comes with responsibilities, therefore, at Hoots Owls we have strict policies in place to ensure the safety of the public and our birds. Our handlers are very knowledgeable, not only about the birds and their habits but also our working processes and we would urge our customers to follow all instructions given by our staff and to ask questions, especially if you would like to know why we do some things the way we do - we are always happy to explain.

Whilst our birds are hand-reared and friendly we must never forget their origins and respect their natures - they require very specific. Owls especially are not like dogs and cats and although they may look cute and cuddly they still retain their wild instincts.

We allow a certain amount of touching, but again this should be done under the strict instruction of our handlers. We do not allow cuddling or excessive stroking and we always advise our customers to NEVER put your face down to any bird.

So with all the above in mind, please see below for some other questions we are asked on a regular basis.

Are your birds friendly / Do they bite?

Our birds, especially the owls, are friendly and hand reared however we must never forget that they are Birds of Prey and are natural predators. We take great pains to explain to our customers the nature of these wonderful creatures and to respect them. 

Most animals will bite if a stranger puts a finger (or any other body part) near their mouth therefore we make sure our handlers give clear and correct instructions to all who come for an experience with us and urge all our customers to listen carefully and to follow any direction given by our staff.

Do you only have owls?

No we also have some hawks and a buzzard however we generally only use these guys for flying. Occasionally we will take them to our static events, however this is usually for display purposes only and helps to socialize the birds. Please ask if you require a Raptor for your event.

Is their an age limit on participation?

We have birds of all shapes and sizes so usually there is something for everyone. An encounter with our birds brings enjoyment for everyone who meets us therefore we always try to match the correct bird with the customer. Please do not be offended if we advise that the bird you have chosen (whether for yourself or a child) is not suitable whether due to weight, size or temperament.

We do have an age limit on flying (usually 14 years of age) as the birds tend not to enjoy landing on a low perch and young children are not always keen to hold still long enough for the bird to land. However, with the correct supervision and environment we have flown with young people, so please enquire.

For weddings we will usually not deliver the rings to anyone under 16, however we do have a junior ring bearer for the small kids (see the Wedding Wings page for full details).

Why would a bird be unsuitable if they are all tame?

Yes, they are tame, but all have different personalities. As we have reared most of our birds from very young we know these very well and love them for it. Some enjoy the company of children some prefer adults, some are very heavy and others just don’t want to be touched, but are happy to pose for a photograph, each has their own little quirks.

Health and Safety (for both birds and people) is our top priority when appearing in public. For example we would never give out our Eagle Owl to a small child as he is big, heavy and likes a steady hand.

We want everyone to enjoy their time with us including the birds. Our handlers always take time to explain why we feel a bird may be unsuitable and to make suggestions on an alternative.

Do you always wear big gloves?

Absolutely - this is our Golden Rule and is not broken under any circumstances. You should never handle any Bird of Prey without a proper falconry glove regardless of size, breed or temperament.  Even our little tiny birds have small, but very sharp, talons and can give a nasty scratch.  You will NEVER see any of our customers or handlers with a bird on their arm without the correct equipment.

We would urge anyone who is offered a bird of prey (even something as small as a pygmy or little owl) to handle without a glove to refuse and steer well clear - any person willing to offer this is highly irresponsible, is ignoring basic Health & Safety Conditions and clearly has no regard for the correct handling and working of these types of birds.

We do have a range of gloves in different sizes to fit most people from small junior to large male.

Are you Insured?

Yes, Hoots Owls have full Public Liability Insurance and we are happy to supply a copy of this prior to, and during, any appearance. All of our handlers that appear in public are named on our insurance so you can be assured that we are all individually covered – when checking PLI certificates it is imperative that you ensure the handler is named, not  just the company name, or the insurance is invalid.

Do you do private visits?

Yes, we have just moved to a fantastic new base near Stewarton, Ayrshire where you can come along for a personal 1-1 visit.  We offer different types of encounters (see the 1 – 1 page for more details). We have indoor and outdoor facilities so even if the weather is not perfect your visit can go ahead.

Do you bring your own equipment when appearing?

Yes, we will supply everything that we require for our displays from the birds (obviously) to our shelter as well as our own power supply, therefore all we require from any event organizer is a suitable space to set up.

How much room do you require?

This will depend on a few factors. The first being how many birds we are going to bring along and what type of visit we will be doing on the day.

To give a rough estimate our event shelter is 4.5 meters x 4.5 meters and comfortably houses 8 birds.

Can I touch your birds?

Some of our birds do not mind a small stroke down the front of the chest. However we ask this is kept to a minimum and the instructions of our handlers are followed at all times. We will always advise prior to any handling if the bird may be touched or not.

As stated above owls are not cuddly and do not (as a general rule) enjoy close contact with strangers. Also over-stroking can cause damage to their feathers and cause the bird some distress.

Do you provide hand washing facilities?

Yes we do. We can provide soap and water if required however we most often use anti-bacterial gel and encourage everyone to find a bathroom at their earliest convenience and wash with warm water and soap - especially prior to eating.

We also ask all our customers to wipe their hands prior to using our gloves with wipes provided by us.

Do you publish all your photographs?

We post as many of our pictures as we can on our Facebook, however if you have ever seen us at an event you will know that we tend to be very busy and can take lots of pictures during a day so its not always possible to add everyone’s, but we do our best.

Please note Hoots Owls do not publish any pictures without prior consent and we are happy to delete any photographs taken after printing in your presence so you can be assured that there will be no breach of Privacy or Child Protection Laws.

Are your birds happy being tied up?

Tethering is essential during public appearances. However our owls are only tied during these times and are what we call “free-lofted” when in their flying aviaries.  Free-lofting is when all the equipment round the legs (jesses, swivel and leash) are removed and the bird is free to move around as much as they want.

Raptors are slighlty different and are required to be tethered a bit more especially if they are at flying weight.

We hope this has answered some of your more popular questions, however if you haven't found a satisfactory answer here please do not hesitate to contact us.