Ernie the owl retiring after 30 years at castle

A much-loved owl with a "big personality" who has been a hoot at Warwick Castle for 30 years is retiring.

Ernie, a Verreaux's eagle owl, has been flying around the historic attraction, based in Warwickshire, on average twice a day, every day, for three decades.

He will be performing his final flight during the Easter holidays before winging his way to the Yorkshire Dales with the Hawk Experience, who are behind the bird handling displays at the castle.

With a wingspan of 165cm, Ernie has flown about 20,000 times and most recently starred in the The Falconer's Quest, the UK's largest bird of prey show.

Liam Bartlett, general manager at the attration, said: "Ernie is a much-loved member of staff at Warwick Castle.

"He has a big personality, is often stubborn and likes to freestyle his shows, but that's why we love him.

"We're excited for him to spend his twilight years in the stunning Yorkshire Dales with other feathered friends."

The Verreaux’s eagle owl is the largest owl species found in Africa and the only type in the world to have pink eyelids.

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