Owls Rendez-Vous is presented in partnership with Little Ray's Nature Centres, which is an accredited member of the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) and licenced by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources for the care and rescue of exotic animals.
What are the highlights of Owls Rendez-Vous?
- Glimpsing an owl is a rare treat. Most owls live hidden to us, becoming active while we sleep. This exhibition sheds light on these amazing, powerful hunters.
- Observe real owls and a Bald Eagle up close in specially constructed habitats. Included are four species of owls—Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Snowy Owl and Eurasian Eagle-Owl, as well as a Bald Eagle, which is also a raptor.
- Learn about some of their impressive adaptations as predators.
How are the birds in the exhibition cared for?
- Staff from the museum's Animal Care team are on site daily to feed the birds, clean their habitats, interact with them, check on their health and provide any support needed.
- Enrichment opportunities for stimulation or to avoid boredom are provided by periodically moving the location of the perches, placing or hiding food in different locations, or sometime varying the diet.
- The birds' own feathers keep them warm in the winter. In hot weather, they usually cool off by panting.
- Any bird exhibiting signs of stress will be removed from its habitat until it is ready to return to the exhibition.
- All presentations with live animals at the museum are reviewed and approved by an Animal Care Committee, which includes community members, a veterinarian, and the trained animal care staff.
Where do the animals come from?
- All the owls in the exhibition were born in human care as part of a certified breeding program—none was wild.
- The Bald Eagle, another raptor, was rescued from the Canadian Prairies with a severe injury and can no longer fly well enough to hunt in the wild.
- These birds generally live longer, healthier lives because they do not confront predators, disease or other threats that are common in the wild.
- The Barn Owl was bred in a Little Ray's facility and is a threatened species. Because there are very few breeding pairs in Ontario, it is a rare opportunity to see this bird of prey.
Are the enclosures suitable for the animals?
- Yes. The habitats for each of the birds have been developed in response to their needs—there are perches and secluded spots, for example.
- Owls tend not to fly or move unless they are in search of food or shelter. These needs are provided within the habitat.
- The habitats were developed by Little Ray's Nature Centres, which brings more than 20 years of experience in housing and caring for live animals. Little Ray's follows standards approved through the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and other organisations.
Is photography permitted?
- Yes, photography is allowed, as it is in most other areas of the museum.
- Please do not use a flash, and be calm and quiet.
Can visitors touch the animals?
- No. This is not the intent of the exhibition.
- Visitors are able to see these charismatic birds in their habitats.
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