Birdworld celebrated what would have been Sir Terry Pratchett’s 69th Birthday with the official opening of its new exhibit, the Terry Pratchett Owl Parliament with the assistance of Discworld dignitaries, Rob Wilkins and Stephen Briggs.
The beautifully crafted exhibit at the wildlife centre south of Farnham has been created in collaboration with the World Owl Trust (WOT) and has been named in honour of the award-winning author, Sir Terry Pratchett due to his well-known love of wildlife and in particular, all species of owl.
As well as showcasing a wonderment and diversity of owls from the magical snowy owl to the reputedly wise long-eared owl, the Terry Pratchett Owl Parliament will aim to educate and raise awareness of these amazing birds.
The display will also provide an interactive space for visitors to learn fascinating facts about Strigiformes - the order in which owls belong.
The Owl Parliament has been created both as a satellite of the WOT’s collection and to recognise Sir Terry’s passion for these mysterious birds of prey.
Visitors familiar with the popular Discworld novels will be able to easily recognise a number of the references but with the unique styling of these aviaries, everyone exploring the exhibit will be drawn into the mythical and wonderful world of Sir Terry Pratchett.
To celebrate the day, visitors attended the opening ceremony in their finest Discworld-themed costume before Rob Wilkins cut the red ribbon and christened the Owl Parliament with a bottle of champagne.
After the ceremony Discworld auctioneer Dr Pat Harkin led a prize-packed auction which featured prizes ranging from rare signed books, Paul Kidby artwork and the star prize of feeding Birdworld’s African penguins alongside Rob Wilkins.
As a result of the auction and raffle, the day raised more than £1,400 for the Birdworld Conservation Fund which will in turn be donated to the World Owl Trust to support the work it does on both a national and international scale.
Pratchett fans were also treated to a special question and answer session with Rob and Stephen which included personal book signings and photos as a reminder of the day.
Elsewhere in the park, the Birdworld keepers were delighted to welcome into the world a Humboldt penguin chick and as a fitting tribute to both the author and the day itself, it was decided the only appropriate name for the hatching was Terry!
Mark Anderson, Birdworld General Manager, commented: “We were extremely proud to host Discworld Day to celebrate the official opening of The Terry Pratchett Owl Parliament.
“We would like to thank all the fans who attended the day and of course, Discworld dignitaries, Rob Wilkins and Stephen Briggs for helping to make the day such a special one. The hatching of another Humboldt Penguin chick was a pleasure for all of us to hear and it was only apt for the chick to be named in honour of Sir Terry himself.
“We are looking forward to continue showcasing such an extraordinary selection of owl species, many of which are threatened with the loss of habitat in the wild and for visitors of all ages to immerse themselves in the mysterious world of Sir Terry Pratchett in the process.”
Already one of the largest bird parks in the country, the 26 acres of landscaped park and gardens at Birdworld are home to over 800 birds and 180 species from around the world. The park also is home to the Underwater World aquarium and the Jenny Wren Farm.
For more information about the Terry Pratchett Owl Parliament and Birdworld’s other attractions or experiences, visit: www.birdworld.co.uk or call 01420 22992.