Little Owl chicks set to join conservation display team

Two Little Owl chicks have become the latest apprentices set to join the flying display team at the Hampshire-based bird of prey charity, the Hawk Conservancy Trust.

Already some of the cutest ambassadors for owl conservation, four-week-old Cheddar and Mozzarella are almost fully grown, weighing just 150 grams each – that’s only about half as heavy as an apple!

The pair were given their cheesy names by the charity’s Bird Team which is following a cheese-based naming theme for all new arrivals this year.

With the team carefully rearing both owls, they are forming strong bonds with the humans who will go on to develop their flying skills and work with them to become superstars of the daily displays that help the charity connect birds of prey with the public at its visitor centre near Andover.

“By sharing our fascination and love for birds of prey with visitors, we aim also to help educate as many people as possible about the need for conservation and our work both in the UK and overseas”, said Hawk Conservancy Trust CEO Penny Smout. “The adorable Cheddar and Mozzarella duo will surely help us win hearts and minds to keep aloft support for our endeavours.”

Not yet quite ready for their flying debuts, Cheddar and Mozzarella have recently begun making appearances in their outside aviary where they can get used to visitors’ faces as they admire these cute newcomers.

Little Owls are just one of many bird of prey species that the Trust focuses on supporting in the wild. Its Raptor Nest Box Project is working throughout Southern England to increase nest site availability for Little Owls, Barn Owls, Tawny Owls and Kestrels. It provides those species with safe breeding spaces where suitable habitat has become increasingly limited, both in terms of suitable nesting cavities and surrounding conditions for hunting and foraging.

A short video about the Little Owls can be seen on YouTube.

The Hawk Conservancy Trust is dedicated to conservation, research and education concerning birds of prey and their habitats both in the UK and overseas, and utilises income from its visitor centre near Andover, to fund its work. Visitors can experience rare birds of prey up close, watch world-class flying displays in three completely different arenas or simply meander through 22 acres of woodland and wildflower meadow.

To find out more about visitor centre opening times and the Trust’s many conservation projects, visit