Owl afraid of heights thinks hes a Human

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Owl afraid of heights thinks hes a Human

Troy, a tawny owl, has 'forgotten' how to be a bird after being hand reared since he was only a few weeks old.

Now experts are trying to encourage him to find his wings.

Ashley Smith, chief executive of the Hawk Conservancy Trust said:
... Quote:
It's extremely rare but he's simply scared of heights.

He's been in captivity for as long as he can remember and has never been higher than his handler can lift him.

Now we're working on letting Troy realize he's a bird, and that he should be flying as high as he wants.
Troy was brought to the Trust's specialist bird of prey hospital in Andover, Hants, last May after being discovered by a dog walker.

He had fallen from his nest and was reared at home by the passer-by who found him for six weeks before taking him to the Trust, by which time he was too tame to be released into the wild.

While Troy was unable to return home, staff at the Trust still had high hopes for him joining their flying demonstration team.

But unlike other owls who fly up to the tree branches, they soon realised Troy would fly no higher than his handler, Gareth Tonen, 25.

Staff at the centre thought Troy's low flying was down to new surroundings or a lack of confidence.

It became apparent Troy wouldn't fly any higher than his 5ft 10in "comfort zone" - the exact height of Mr Tonen.

His handler has taken to climbing trees with the owl to help him see the world from an owl's perspective and become more ambitious when it comes to heights.

So far it's been slow progress, as Troy has to be carried down, as he refuses to fly.

Miss Smith added: "He sees himself as more of a human than an owl, he doesn't know how to sit in trees or hunt... he sees everything from human eye level.

"He does not see the point in sitting in a tree unless Gareth is in the tree, and Gareth has to almost act like an owl, to get Troy to behave like one."

"I don't think he even knows he's an owl - he thinks he's a Gareth."


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By netchicken: posted on 9-4-2010

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