One of the features at Bracebridge’s Fire and Ice Festival is a birds of prey show.
Matthew Morgan is a presenter with Birds in Flight. With his menagerie of two owls, a hawk and an eagle, he introduces people to the raptors that are all around Ontario.
He brought Jack, a Great Horned Owl, into the Moose to talk about the feathered predator.
Jack was raised in captivity and has never known life in the wild. He is fed a steady diet of frozen mice and does not hunt for his food at all.
Through a quick video interview, Jack makes his presence known, with a low decibel squawk which is known as imprinting.
“He has known me his whole life, so I am essentially his parent or mother and he wants to let me know every few seconds where he is,” explains Morgan. “We’ve been bringing him around to see people since he was a week old.”
While he is used to being around people, do not confuse Jack for a pet. While Morgan might be able to give Jack the occasional cuddle eager strangers are politely told to not get near the business end of the approximately 30 cm long bird with sharp hooked nose.
Not every show is the same says Morgan.
“A lot of it has to do with how food oriented they are that day,” he explains. “Maybe if he got a big meal the other day, he is like us, they don’t want to do too much after that. For the most part he is pretty consistent.”
In terms of Jack’s co-stars they may be in the same show but they do not co-mingle.
“If we let them be together we would be down to one bird by the end of the day,” Morgan says emphatically, not indicating who would be the last bird standing.
There are two shows remaining at 12:30 and 2:30 – on Taylor Road by the Moose FM studios.