The 3 hour drive home had begun and on my lap sat a little creature who was now completely dependant on me; a 3 week old baby owl who I was to hand rear for the next 2 months and commit my life to for the next 25 years.
That little creature was Haru, an Asian Brown Wood Owl, captive bred in England by an owl breeder in Norfolk. He was parent reared for the first few weeks of his life and I took over the role of mum from then on in. As a result, Haru is completely imprinted on me, calls for me when he’s hungry or wants attention, when he sees me from his aviary, or hears my car pull up on the drive because I hand reared him from such a young age. But why do this, you may ask? Hand rearing baby owls allows them to create an extremely strong bond with you, makes them incredibly tame and comfortable around humans. Unlike the ‘wise old owl’ saying, owls are actually not very clever at all! And by hand rearing Haru, when I have come to train him to fly to me for little pieces of food, he wants to come, because he associates me with food and security.
I expect you’re also wondering how I came to own an owl in the first place? During my four year degree in fashion design, I started volunteering at a falconry centre and fell in love! Animals have always been a love of mine, particularly exotic animals, and I was beginning to wish I had pursued a career in that area. After graduating, I began looking for jobs, and the week after I completed my degree, I did a five day course at The Hawking Centre, receiving a Lantra certificate in falconry, a nationally recognised certificate that shows I have a good understanding of what is involved in keeping a raptor or bird of prey and that I have the commitment and enthusiasm in order to ensure that the bird of prey is looked after and handled with absolute care and respect.
After this I looked for jobs working with animals, particularly in falconry, but with no luck. Many falconry centres are small with a close knit team and if you are lucky enough to get a job in this area, you are unlikely to leave it! I was at a loose end, desperate to pursue a career with animals.
And so Owl About Art was born! I started my own business combining art and crafts with a live owl and I now travel around Kent and the South East visiting schools, nurseries, clubs, birthday parties, craft fairs and fetes, with my mobile art and craft workshops and Haru. Our most popular workshop is the ‘make your own’ sock owl workshops where little ones enjoy stuffing socks, decorating their sock owl with felt wings, feet and beaks & cute button eyes! Above all the workshops are fun and interactive, combining educational talks and arts and crafts with a live owl, a completely unique learning experience of which I am very proud.
Owl About Art are available for:
BIRTHDAY PARTIES ~ SCHOOL AND NURSERY VISITS ~ RAINBOWS AND BROWNIES ~ BEAVERS AND CUBS ~ CRAFT FAIRS AND FETES ~ WEDDINGS, FUNCTIONS AND EVENTS ~ PHOTOGRAPHY AND ART CLUBS EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATIVE TALKS
Natasha Welch & Haru ‘OvO’
Owl About Art