At ten months of age and after five months of training one of our newest stars has finally made her show debut. Dragon, one of two Sooty Owls hand-raised by keeper Grey Fisher, has flown into her role in the 3 pm show with great success. Her routine allows a volunteer from the audience to get a very close encounter as the young owl swoops over their heads. She often gets so close that her tail feathers brush their forehead! The volunteer can try to get a real-time photo moment as the owl flies over their head, but it’s OK if their timing is off because they can also get a very close up shot while she poses on her stump.
Dragon’s sister Phoenix is not far off from her debut either and recently did a training session with lucky volunteer, Galina, who talks about the very close experience below.
My adventures with Phoenix the Sooty Owl began by getting called to sit on a tree stump on stage and experience this magnificent bird flying straight at me from the back of the theatre. Phoenix flew so close that I could feel her wings brush the hair off my face and I could see the sheer excitement of flying in her eyes.
I was given the opportunity to record a video of the whole event as it was happening. A picture afterwards completed this unique encounter which I would definitely recommend you volunteer for the next time you see the show.
If you are interested in this “Close Encounter of the Bird Kind” be sure make the bird show one of your destinations on your next visit.