Baby long-eared owl Rusty learns to fly at botanic garden

A five-week-old long-eared owl has had a hoot learning to fly.

Rusty was born in captivity so needed a little human help to spread his wings.

Emma Hill, who co-owns the British Bird of Prey Centre at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, was happy to step up.

A few test flights did not end well, and he only took a few tentative hops to begin with – but eventually Rusty got the hang of it.

“He’s greedy though which really helps” Ms Hill said.

“He’s been living with us at home since he arrived. He watches TV with us and sleeps in the bathroom.

“As soon as we started training him, we could see he was really curious.

“He was looking to see where his next bit of food was coming from, so we could see that he could be coaxed a little further each time.

“This is the closest thing I can have to a baby – it was a very proud feeling for me when he did eventually take his first flight.”

Rusty can now fly a couple of metres.


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