Soaring future awaits Devon park’s owl chicks

Soft landing: the newly hatched burrowing owls will be forming a close bond with the park's professional falconers
Soft landing: the newly hatched burrowing owls will be forming a close bond with the park’s professional falconers

There’s a high-flying career awaiting two baby owls which were hatched recently at Woodlands Family Theme Park near Dartmouth in Devon.

That’s because Ernie and Els will be joining their parents, Bonnie and Clyde, as part of the flying display team at the park’s popular falconry centre.

Meanwhile, the pair are winning the hearts of families visiting the park’s zoo farm which also plays host to many other adorable creatures great and small.

The two baby birds – which are burrowing owls – are the first chicks to be hatched by their mum and dad since the pair arrived at Woodlands three years ago.

Burrowing owls are native to North and South America, and are so called because they live underground in burrows dug out by small mammals and prairie dogs.

Home for Ernie and Els is a top-rated 90-acre Devon park</em srcset=

They were named by Woodland’s falconer and keen golf player Lyn Goss after the South African golfer Ernie Els on whose birthday the first of the owls hatched in January.

Lyn and head falconer Gail Greenwood will now be looking to build a close and special bond with Ernie and Els, as they have with other residents of the falconry centre.

In doing so, they will win the trust of the birds as they are trained to earn their wings and become fully fledged members of the flying display team at the park.

Set in 90 acres of Devon countryside, the family-run park is a wildlife wonderland with its ever-growing menagerie of domestic and exotic species, and 40-plus birds of prey.

Among Woodlands’ many other attractions is a dinosaur park complete with prehistoric monsters which recreates the sights and sounds of a landscape more than 160 million years ago.

A member of the Best of British parks group, Woodlands’ accolades include the Alan Rogers “Best Family Campsite in Europe” award, and the “AA Campsite of the Year” award.

For more information, see the park’s website at

What noise does a dinosaur make? A young guest demonstrates at the park's prehistoric monster attraction</span srcset=