Whenever we go to the Festival Park shopping centre in Ebbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent, we like to visit the owl sanctuary, which has now been there for 14 years. Although it’s called an “owl” sanctuary, it is home to about 60 different birds of prey, not just owls. Most of these poor creatures were bought as pets or gifts and then the owners decided they didn’t want them or couldn’t look after them properly.
The majority of the birds cannot be released into the wild as they were either bred in captivity or are native to far-off lands.
The place is called Festival Park because the last British Garden Festival was held here, in 1992. I went to the festival a couple of times and I must remember to retrieve my pre-digital pictures of the event for a blog post…
The bird sanctuary is owned by Malcolm Jones, a retired steelworker from the now-closed Ebbw Vale works, who has dedicated his life to caring for these rescued birds of prey.
At the heart of the sanctuary, which clings to the side of a wooded valley, is a great beech tree. And in its branches is a tree-house currently inhabited by the tawny eagle pictured at the top of this post.
I had intended for this not to be a “tree” blog post, but I can never resist a good tree. This oak is at the entrance to the sanctuary…
Anyway, you can find out more about the Festival Park Owl Sanctuary here.