In a hidden corner of West Lothian in Central Scotland, surrounded by a country park on one side and rapidly growing new housing estates on another, is one of the world’s largest collections of trained owls.
Over a hundred owls from forty species inhabit the outdoor aviaries. Many of the species also work in a specially designed indoor flying theatre, where the sanctuary staff bring the owls on a daily basis, each owl perched on its handler’s leather gauntlet.
In the faux painted woodland of the indoor arena, the owls are allowed to fly freely around the space, coming back on command to their grass covered perches at either end of the long arena.
At the daily flying demonstrations, groups of visiting children watch as the creatures fly past them and feel the cool rush of air as the low flying Owls of Polkemmet sweep silently past the awed faces.