Image: Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle’s Ernie the Owl to retire after three decades of service

The grounds of Warwick Castle are set to become a little lonelier in the coming weeks as their resident owl, Ernie, is set to retire after 30 years of entertaining visitors to the historical attraction.

Having flown twice a day for over three decades at Warwick Castle, Ernie is preparing to take a well-earned rest as he retires to the Yorkshire Dales. He will spend his final years at the Hawk Experience, a falconry centre that runs the castle’s bird-handling displays.

Any night shift worker will know that it is no wonder that Ernie is ready to retire after 30 years of service. His performances in shows at the castle have seen him rack up a record of around 20,000 flights.

Liam Bartlett, General Manager of the Merlin Entertainments-owned attraction, celebrated Ernie’s service at the castle, commenting: “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

Liam Bartlett, General Manager, Warwick Castle

He added that Ernie, a Verreaux’s eagle owl “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.”

In recent years, Ernie has played a part in The Falconer’s Quest, the largest bird-of-prey show in the country, which takes place annually at Warwick Castle. The display showcases 60 birds from across the world in a bespoke arena which brings visitors to the attraction face-to-face with some of the fastest birds of prey on earth.

Distinct for their pink eyelids, Verreaux’s eagle owls are the largest owl species in Africa, weighing up to 3.1kg and with a wingspan of 165cm.

Visitors to Warwick Castle will be able to catch Ernie’s final flight during the Easter holidays before he flies the nest. He will be replaced by Baby Ernie, or ‘Bernie’ for short, who has been making some test appearances in the bird-of-prey show in recent weeks.


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