A couple of times a day at Thorpe Perrow they do a display using their birds of prey, sometimes falcons and sometimes owls. Star of the show in the one I saw was this beautiful Turkmenian Eagle Owl. It seemed to be a cross between an owl and a golden labrador - a real softie, following the handler around like a pet dog would. In some ways perhaps one might consider it cruel to keep such magnificent birds in captivity, but they all seemed very well cared for and happy. They are threatened in their natural habitat so keeping some in captivity aids conservation and breeding efforts, enabling people to learn more about them and admire them, which in the long run can surely do no harm. The handler was very calm and respectful of the birds.
The raven below was a real character too and, having gobbled up a few cheesy puffs that a little girl had dropped on the grass, it seemed less interested in the dead chicks its handler was trying to entice it with! Indeed, it wasn't very keen to be led back into its aviary at the end; you could see it playing quite a calculated game with the handler. Ravens are hugely intelligent birds. They famously keep them in the Tower of London; superstition says that if they ever leave, the Crown will fall and Britain with it.