Enigmatic and symbolic Owls are embedded in our popular consciousness, whether your first exposure was through Harry Potter or Greek myth, Twin Peaks (where the owls are not what they seem!) or The Labyrinth, I’m sure you’ll agree they are fantastic creatures. Actually, real owls are awesome so World of Owls was a definite must see…
I’ve always had a soft spot for these otherworldly birds, to me Owls look just like creations from Jim Henson’s creature shop. So I was thrilled to have the chance to visit them in a bird of prey sanctuary in Antrim. (And I took my camera, of course!)
The World of Owls exists as a charity dedicated to awareness and conservation of owls. Located in the woods near Randalstown, it is the only animal sanctuary of it’s kind in Northern Ireland. It’s gut-wrenching to think that these amazing birds had a difficult life before coming to this safe haven. Many were bought as pets but abandoned when the novelty of exotic care wore off, some were neglected and cruelly treated and some rescues from other centres. These owls have found a home now with the devoted young volunteers at the centre and I was more than happy to pay the £5.50 entry fee knowing that every penny goes towards the care and upkeep of the animals.
There are more than just Owls to see at this sanctuary too there are other birds of prey like Vultures, Buzzards, Harris Hawks, Kites and kestrels and even an impressive Steppes Eagle. Some of the hawks are pictured below at bath time, drying off in the sun. And how gorgeous is that Red Kite? (Bottom Left). The volunteers were chatty and informative as they went about their duty of care with the animals and they were kind enough to let me keep some feathers that the birds naturally shed. I shall treasure those, I’ve already used them in photographs here.
The sanctuary is also home to some lizards, snakes and creepy crawlies, (sadly also abandoned pets). There are also some tiny exotic little birds indoors as well as two very noisy parrots that are likely to greet you as you enter! You can visit the World of Owls online here: or in the real world at Randalstown Forest, Antrim, Northern Ireland. You can be sure of a great day out and a cause well worth supporting.