[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 12 August 2005, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Bird of prey given learner plate
Bandit the owl
Bandit is popular with visitors
An owl at a tourist attraction in Warwickshire is such a poor flyer that the hapless creature has been given its own learner plate.

The six-month-old spectacled eagle owl, known as Bandit, is one of the most recent additions to Warwick Castle's Birds of Prey line-up.

Trainer Chris O'Donnell described Bandit's flying style as clumsy.

"I have been training birds for 20 years and I've never come across a case like it," he said.

"Certainly some birds take longer than others to become accomplished flyers, but Bandit is in a class of his own.

We're taking things nice and slow - and very importantly, low - so he doesn't encounter any towers or turrets he shouldn't
Chris O'Donnell

"He is still very young, only six months old, but by this time he should have mastered the rudimentaries and have a very firm sense of direction.

"Bandit, however, has his own unique way of doing things and sailed very close to the towers and turrets of the castle on his maiden flight, so we've issued him with L-plates to indicate his learner flyer status."

'Near miss'

Mr O'Donnell added that Bandit's lack of flying proficiency had not made him any less popular with visitors.

"People fall in love with him because he is so cute and fluffy," he said.

"Then when he takes to the air in his clumsy style they love him even more.

"We have had a near miss with an archway and I don't want to take any risks while he's finding his wings so we're taking things nice and slow - and very importantly, low - so he doesn't encounter any towers or turrets he shouldn't."

Mr O'Donnell said he thought Bandit would be ready to shed his L-plates within about a month.


SEE ALSO:
World's largest catapult planned
30 May 05 |  Coventry/Warwickshire


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific