Yesterday we got the fantastic opportunity to see Wild Wings Bird of Prey Specialists at Bents Garden & Home. After visiting Bents many a time over the years, I was really looking forward to seeing their latest addition. Already Bents have rapidly expanded from your typical garden centre and now host many different aspects including their fantastic cafe (a butterfly bun is always on the must-have list) and a huge play area for the children. It really is a place you can go and spend a day at and on a sunny day it is lovely to sit by the lake, cup of tea in hand, whilst the children are kept entertained.
Wild Wings were originally based in Manchester, however when they were forced out of their home, Bents stepped in and offered them a new space within their centre. The large section now home to 80 birds of prey, is a welcoming sanctuary to many a bird. The team are often called out to rescue these beautiful animals, including recently when they discovered two owlings whilst assisting with an RSPCA rescue in Warrington. In fact 90% of their birds are rescued, and the team do what they can to bring them back to health and nurture them in their beautiful surroundings.
We had the pleasure of enjoying a lovely morning visiting the sanctuary, we wandered around the spacious cages, which I’m happy to report are clean, with each bird having fresh water. At first we thought some of the cages were empty, until we spotted some owls hiding in the rafters, so H and I then played spot the birds! There are so many different types of owls I lost count – I always love the Barn Owls myself, they seem so gentle and beautiful.
After the owls we then came across many birds of prey – falcons, eagles and kestrels amongst a few. It was lovely to see them right in front of us and great for J to be able to wander around and see each one too, as he found it hard to find any behind the cages.
The owner, Ian, was on hand, eager to tell us all about each bird. He filled us in on their stories, breed and abilities and you could just feel his passion for these beautiful creatures. It really made the experience for us, having someone on hand who knew exactly what he was talking about and could talk on such a personal level about each bird. Having over 25 years experience, Ian is an asset to the centre.
He was keen to show us the birds and happily brought a young kookaburra, who was full of life to say the least! H found it hilarious listen to Ian ‘cuckoo-ing’ to it, trying to get the bird to sing. We even had the chance to give it a little stroke, which was lovely.
We also got the chance to see a Spectacled Owl up close, which is a stunning bird. Called ‘Boo,’ it was gentle and very happy for us to swoon over it, and give it a gentle touch to its tummy. Even J had a go!
The centre really is a credit to itself. The animals are wonderfully cared for and the staff are passionate about what they do. Having only opened at Bents in February, it is already well established and thriving. The team even offer experiences, giving guests the opportunity to hold four birds and fly a falcon. For £40 I think this would make a unique birthday or Christmas present. They also use the birds for rehabilitation and educational visits and regularly visit nursing homes and schools with the birds.
As the centre say “birds can help in so many ways on so many levels, spiritually these birds have held historic relations with our ancestors for thousands of years and will provide you with an experience you will never forget, an experience that’s unique to each and every person that spends time with them.”
Of course, after a lovely morning in the sanctuary, we had no choice but to enjoy a lovely lunch and play in Bents’ fantastic outdoor area.
Wild Wings charge £4.50 per adult, £3.50 per child (children under 3 are free). A family pass for 2 adults and 2 children is £14. I think this is a really great price for a day out with a difference, where not only can you enjoy the unique sanctuary, but visit the fantastic world of Bents at the same time.
*We were provided with entry and lunch for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are completely my own.