Wolverhampton's 'Owl Man' struggling to make ends meet

A man who cares for rescued owls has found himself in a financial flap because of national lockdowns.

Dedicated – Karl Perry with Boo the European Eagle Owl – one of the many owls he continues to care for during lockdown
Dedicated – Karl Perry with Boo the European Eagle Owl – one of the many owls he continues to care for during lockdown

Karl Perry, of Oxley, Wolverhampton, is known by many people as The Owl Man.

The 56-year-old bought his first bird from a certified breeder in 2013 and since then has given up his job as a mobile disc jockey to concentrate on talks to schools, scouts and guides and visits to old people's homes and appearances at local fetes.

His passion is non-profit-making and Karl asks for donations for those handling the birds of which he now has 32 in aviaries.

These range from Little Owls to the European Eagle Owl, the largest of the species in the world.

Despite facing difficulties from the pandemic he is still taking in rescued birds.

He said: "After buying my first bird my grand-daughter Meghan told people at school and the teachers asked me to give a talk as they were doing a project.

"Things just grew from there and now it has become a full-time job.

"Many of the rescue birds are injured by eating poison put out for rates and mice and striking windows and pylons.

"Youngsters fall out of nests in the Spring but the majority are hurt through road accidents.

"We try to rescue and release those that are injured. Some people who have birds also leave them when they move home or go to live abroad.

"We have a Red-Tailed Hawk which was brought into the centre really ill and which was given only weeks to live and which is now thriving 12 months later.

Struggling

"Because of lockdowns I have been unable to give talks and pay visits to homes.

"We have relied on funding from my partner Joanne Woolley, a healthcare assistant who is working to become a nursing associate and who works in accident and emergency at Walsall and at the Goscote Hospice.

"The pandemic and restrictions have hit us a lot.

"It has been difficult as our volunteers have not been able to come along and I have been doing all the maintenance.

"We are struggling with the £80-a-fortnight food bill for the birds but we do have good suppliers.

"Recently our freezer broke down but fortunately a woman kindly donated one."

Karl is now planning to start a GoFundMe page to help meet the bills for the centre.

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