Tayside and Central Scotland

'Living with an owl is a hoot' says keeper

Dave Warren with owl Image copyright PA
Image caption The owl chick is staying with Dave Warren as part of the hand-rearing process

A European eagle owl chick is making itself at home in the house of a keeper from a Scottish safari park.

The fledgling, which is six-and-a-half-weeks old, has been staying with Blair Drummond Safari Park keeper Dave Warren as part of the hand-rearing process.

Keepers at the park near Stirling decided to call the owl Benedict, after Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch because of its inquisitive nature.

Mr Warren said it had been a "hoot" having Benedict in the house.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Benedict poses on the breakfast table alongside Keetah Boulton
Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Warren's nieces have been visiting from Canada while Benedict has been staying
Image copyright PA
Image caption Sasha Boulton said it was "awesome" to spend time with the owl chick

He has been looking after the owl while his nieces Keetah, 12, and Sasha Boulton, 14, from Canada came to visit.

Sasha said: "We knew Dave worked at the safari park but we didn't realise he would be bringing it home with him.

"It was awesome to see Benedict, he was unexpectedly fluffy and very comical - we can't wait to see him fly when he is a bit older."

Image copyright PA
Image copyright PA

Imprinting, or hand rearing, an owl is a process used to totally desensitise the bird to everyday disturbances that may otherwise scare it.

Mr Warren has had his hands full as Benedict prepares to fly for the first time.

He said: "It's been a hoot having Benedict in the house at the same time as the girls, he's growing so fast, it's hard to believe he's only six-and-a-half weeks old.

"I'm in no doubt he'll be a firm favourite when he makes his debut this weekend at the safari park's bird of prey flying demonstrations".

Image copyright PA

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