Independent wildlife educator and owl specialist Ian McGuire


What is an owl pellet?

New Regulations

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018

In the summer of 2018, the government introduced new legislation regarding the use of live animals in the public domain. As an educator of conservation of wild birds of prey, using a live owl at selective events has never sat easy with me. For some strange reason it is always expected that anyone involved in owl conservation will bring a live bird display with owls, hawks and falcons.

Although everyone will argue that it’s ‘lovely to see the real thing’ I believe strongly that it sends a mixed message, especially to children, and I have used my own educational owls responsibly over the years, normally in my Primary school visits.

I have thousands of photographs of British owls and other wildlife that I have amassed over more than 20 years, as well as a large video archive. I believe I have a natural ability to inspire and entertain my young audiences without the need for a live ‘prop’ which inevitably is a distraction to the real learning and can’t avoid promoting owls as ‘pets’.

So although I could apply for licensing to use live owls in selective work, I do not intend to and now is the ideal opportunity for me to retire my birds, ease my conscience and adhere to my beliefs that the focus should always be on WILD owls that are increasingly threatened due to our ignorance of the threats that face them every day - that is the focus of much of my work.

The good news is that I have making investments in new equipment, materials and presentations meaning that all my school visits from 2019 will feature enhanced PowerPoint displays with additional hands-on feathers, pellets under microscopes, new interactions etc. for workshops. This formula has already been trailed in the autumn of 2018 and feedback from teachers has been unanimous.

I trust that existing customers and potential customers will appreciate that the very best learning about wildlife is without animals but with structured education - I hope you will understand and support me with this and continue to use my high quality wildlife education services.

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