Forres pensioners have a ‘hoot’ during owl visit

Tenants Margaret Cameron and Madge Fairclough enjoy meeting the owls
Tenants Margaret Cameron and Madge Fairclough enjoy meeting the owls

It was a ‘hoot’ of an afternoon when residents at a Hanover Scotland very sheltered housing development in Forres were treated to a visit from some very special feathered friends.

Heads were turned when three owls from Speyside Falconry Centre came to Cameron Court for a flying visit. Residents, as well as pensioners from the local community who are part of a day service, were given the chance to hold and stroke a one year old Barn owl called Simon, a one year old Scops owl called Lana, and a six week old Eastern European owl called Brogan.

Clare Morrison, who owns and runs the falconry centre with her husband, taught the pensioners about the owls, their personalities, what they eat, and how they are exercised. As well as being a fun and interesting activity, animals have a naturally calming effect on people and there is extensive research on the benefits of Animal Therapy on older people, especially those living with dementia.

Mrs Madge Fairclough, who developed a bond with six week old Brogan, said: “I loved the owl visit, it was nice to be able to get so close to them, it was a real treat. I have ornaments and pictures of owls at home and have always liked them, their faces are so cute.”

Nicky Wall, who is a day centre officer at Cameron Court and is responsible for arranging entertainment, added: “I wanted to organise something different and when I came across the Speyside Falconry Centre on Facebook I knew it would be a great activity. Many of our residents and day centre visitors can’t get out to wildlife parks, so it was important to bring the birds to them.

“Clare was brilliant and made the afternoon thoroughly enjoyable. Watching the owls up close was fascinating and we hope to have Simon, Lana and Brogan back for another visit later in the year.”

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