Residents of a nursing home had a hoot thanks to a flying visit from special feathered friends – including Bobo the magnificent European Eagle Owl.
Bobo was one of the star attractions when Geraint and Margaret Roberts from an owl sanctuary in Talsarnau dropped in at the Bodawen Nursing Home in Porthmadog.
The beautiful bird of prey is in fine fettle now but things were very different when he was rescued by the couple.
According to the Geraint, he was in a terrible state and was unable to fly because his previous owners used to keep him under the stairs.
As a result, it took Bobo three years to take to the skies again.
Seeing Bobo and Swnyn, a stunning tawny owl, brought back happy memories for one resident, Anwen Mair Jones, 77, the widow, of the well-known naturalist, photographer and broadcaster Ted Breeze Jones, who now lives at Bodawen that’s run by Cariad Care Homes.
She said: “Ted wrote many books and articles on birds. Nature and birds were his life and he was an amazing photographer.
“I really enjoy seeing the owls and stroking them it’s so nice. I like living here; we are really well cared for.
“There is always lots going on and while I like the birds we also have singing and dancing too.”
Geraint said: “It’s always a pleasure to call in at Bodawen Nursing Home so residents can see and stroke the rescue owls.
“I work as a pest control officer using birds of prey, mainly falcons and Harris hawks, to keep seagulls away from airfields, landfill and other industrial sites.
“We are also an unofficial owl rescue centre and the police, RSPCA, vets and other animal welfare charities get in touch when they have an owl or other bird of prey that needs help.
“We are currently caring for around 20 rescued owls that will, providing they are able to care for themselves, be returned to the wild.
“However, Bobo and Swnyn, can’t be returned to the wild unfortunately. We have had Swnyn since he was just a few days old and Bobo was rescued in a terrible condition from a house near Porthmadog where he was kept under the stairs.
“It took almost three years to get Bobo flying again but there is no way he could now hunt for himself.
“We think he’s about 30 but that’s quite young and he could live into his 80s.”
He added: “We always enjoy visiting Bodawen Nursing Home and in particular seeing Mrs Jones.
“I knew her husband Ted Breeze Jones very well. He would come to photograph my birds as it was easier getting close-up shots without disturbing wild birds.
“The Cymdeithas Ted Breeze Jones still operates today. He was a wonderful ornithologist and photographer who wrote many books on birds and wrote articles for many newspapers and magazines.”
Resident Dafydd Brian Edwards, 66, a retired policeman, was also in his element.
He said: “I love the owls coming in. The big owl is very impressive and a huge bird but it is really quite gentle.”
Former teacher Barbara Jones, who works as an activities co-ordinator and care practitioner at Bodawen Nursing Home, said: “We want to make residents feel that this is their home and that they are relevant, important and we are interested in them.
“Being in a nursing home should be another chapter in a person’s life and there is plenty left to be involved with and enjoy.
“It’s just wonderful to see how residents react to the owls and how much pleasure it gives them. I’m always grateful to Geraint and Margaret for coming in and bringing their beautiful birds along.”
Bodawen Nursing Home has 40 beds and caters for residents with a variety of conditions and Cariad Care Homes Director Ceri Roberts said: “We have residents who suffer from Parkinson’s disease, MS, stroke, heart disease and some who are living with dementia.”
“It’s a happy and bright home and we try to encourage residents to be active, to enjoy the varied activities on offer in the home and to attend social events in the local community.
“We’re really grateful to Geraint and Margaret for bringing Bobo and Swnyn along. “The residents clearly get a lot from seeing and stroking the birds and I know they get quite excited at the prospect of a visit from them.”
To learn more about Bodawen Nursing Home please visit www.cariadcarehomes.co.uk