Welcome to the Cortijo Búho website where you will gain an insight into what we do, how we do it and why.
We're located in Southern Spain in the beautiful province of Granada known for it's wealth of history, vivid blue lakes and of course rich and varied wildlife. On a simple journey to the village you can witness Golden Eagles soaring on thermals, Jewelled lizards sunbathing on rocks and the obligatory shepherd wending his way through the valley with his flock of sheep & goats ambling along behind.
At night the area is magical with foxes sauntering through the fields below the house, shining a flashlight down onto the land all you see is the brilliant reflection of their eyes amidst the darkness. Wild boar families snuffle through the under growth by the river and owls call into the night while hunting their prey, they often sit outside the house and chat with our birds too.
Cortijo Búho is an educational facility teaching adults and children alike about birds of prey, we are not open to the general public but you can make an appointment where you will be the only party here.
We do not give bird of prey displays, we offer a one to one experience where you learn about the birds as species and individuals, fly them, feed them and have an experience
you will never forget.
THE FEATHERED TEAM.
Hatched on June 7th 2017 Molly is a cross between a princess and a
a diva. A very intelligent girl she loves to fly just for fun but also likes a the reward of a morsel of food to make it more interesting.
Molly also delivers wedding rings.
The European Eagle owl with a huge character. Hatched on June 6th 2017 she's only a baby but a big one.
She is currently weighing in at just over 7.8 kg with a 2m wing span and flies like a Lancaster bomber but lands very gently on the glove.
Matty prefers adults to children, little ones tend to move too fast for her and she gets a little spooked but she does enjoy her photo being taken and unusually for this species she loves to fly - Sometimes.
The Northern White Faced Scops was hatched on the 15th February 2018 and is a favourite with guests as she rather likes to eat at the dining table.
Mystic is never happier than when walking around the table being fed by anyone who happens to have some food, she's playful and rather likes to relax in front of a bit of cat tv when she has a moment.
This species of owl is commonly known as the transformer owl and she'll go from a little round ball to a tall thin grey streak if there are eagles flying overhead - She's our early warning system for when all the birds are out in the corral garden.
A rare Black Barn owl, he's one of 100,000 to be born and one in a million to survive.
He hatched in April 2017 and has been with us since April 2018.
A beautiful bird, a little shy but not of the camera. When you see Darcy & Molly together you can appreciate just how similar they are yet so different.
You will never see another in your lifetime.
A Little owl with the personality of a bouncer, she's feisty and will square up to anything no matter the size difference.
Hatched in March 2018 she's the baby of the clan and is already flying to the glove and showing great progress.
She's as gentle as a lamb when she's sat on your gloved hand but beware she has little owl syndrome so she's very bossy and demanding when she wants to be.
And she sounds like a squeaky dogs toy in the early hours of the morning when she's chatting to a wild Little owl that sits outside the house.
Meaning princess in Hungarian is a two year old female Harris hawk, a fearless hunter and the business end of falconry.
She's a calm, calculating lady on the glove but at rest she loves to sit on her hay rack which is filled with rosemary branches. She always smells lovely.
A remarkable species for hunting, find out more about her when you visit.
That's the flying team, all born in captivity and each wears a closed ring on their leg showing a registration number corresponding to their paperwork. Our birds are only caged overnight, during the day they are outside in the garden watching us working or if the weather's bad they come in the house with us to stretch their wings.
They are tethered in the garden for their own safety as the different species would attack each other but they all have their little spots in the garden where they relax, baskets line the walled garden providing them with shade and they love peaking out of them to see what's happening.
'A Wonderful day
Ten of us arrived at 11am for our Owl experience. We were warmly welcomed by Lawrence and Matilda and given a much appreciated cup of coffee. Then we were introduced to the Owls and the Harris Hawk and thoroughly enjoyed getting close up and personal with these delightful members of their family. Having these beautiful birds on my hand was a real joy. They have cats, dogs, a baby lamb rejected by its Mum, a horse and the tiniest baby voles which they are hand rearing. Sunday will see the arrival of Meerkats (I came a week too early!) We enjoyed a lovely lunch and then further interaction with the Owls. We learnt so much from our hosts about their life and the cave house in which they live. A thoroughly relaxing day and one I have no hesitation in recommending.' Anne.
'The visit was everything I had been hoping for - what a birthday treat!
I saved my visit for my birthday treat, with friends - and what a birthday it was. I just love owls anyway, to to hold, fly and be so close to these beautiful birds was a dream come true. Every question was answered fully by Laurence, who has 40 years of experience with hawks and owls, with extra information included. I must admit to having a favourite - Mystic the little Scops Owl - but all of them are such amazing characters.
We also had our choice of meal, Indian, followed by Magic Lemon cake, and it did not disappoint. Generous portions, organic home grown food, Matilda is a star!
If you get a chance for the experience of a lifetime, I recommend Cortijo Buho without hesitation. Thank you again Laurence (hope your toe gets better soon) and Matilda, you haven't seen the last of me! x' Sandy.
Lovely birthday treat!
A truly incredible experience. We visited for my partner's birthday and only booked at short notice and so full lunch wasn't an option (We want to come back for this having tasted the produce!)
It was very hot and so an early visit. It was an absolute joy to meet all of the birds! It was so unusual to have the time and a small enough party to see all of their personalities. Flying the birds was amazing and I have a particular soft spot for Darcy!
We bought some delicious wine, cheeses, chutney and beetroot and were given two slices of orange cake to bring home.
Thank you for helping to make Dave's birthday special and giving us memories to treasure! Katie.
An amazing Birds of Prey experience with a delicious lunch
Matilda and Lawrence were lovely hosts and provided an absolutely amazing experience, that by far exceeded our expectations. From the warm welcome, even though we were keenly early, to seeing inside their amazing cave house, to learning so much about the beautiful birds, to getting up close and flying them was just amazing. Last but not least, the best 'picnic' lunch we have ever eaten! Super tasty, as well as fresh from the garden and homemade, accompanied by their delicious homemade wine too. My husband thoroughly enjoyed his birthday treat. Definitely 15/10 from us! We will be back. Karen.
With over 65 years combined experience in bird and animal welfare naturally we take in rescues whenever possible and this year we've had wonderful success with Katy & Kouki two Kestrel chicks which fell out of nests in the Malaga province. They had just fledged but didn't have the hunting skills needed to survive in the wild, with patience and minimal handling Lawrence managed to encourage them to hunt.
The first to arrive, a lively chatty young lady but very calm and took well to training right from the start. Any bird that is greedy to eat is a dream as that's the leading factor in gaining their attention and trust.
Katy stayed with us for 8 weeks and was released here into the valley and she is thriving, often she sits in one of the pine trees in the garden and chatters in her usual style.
The second to visit and a totally different character. Kouki had a distinctive call much higher pitched than Katy's, he was far more stand offish but still ate like a trouper.
Unlike Katy he didn't settle into routine training but he had other skills, he was a crafty thief when it came to feeding time which was also a good sign that he'd survive.
Kouki was actually last in and first out, he'd fattened up and was starting to get restless so early one morning he was released.
Just like Katy he stayed in the valley and often soars over the house on his way from the forest to the cliff face on the opposite side of the valley.
There is no greater reward for the endless hours spent caring, feeding andpreparing these birds for their release back into the wild than when they buzz you when you're out walking in the valley or working in the garden. To see them in their natural habitat creating a little life for themselves is simply fantastic.
There are those who say that captive breeding is wrong but let us give you an example using Matty the European Eagle owl. In the wild Matty's life would be an average of 8 - 15 years if she was one of the lucky ones not hit by vehicles at night, snared in fencing, shot or unable to hunt due to bad weather in which case she could starve to death.
In captivity she will live up to 60 years because she's safe, her health is monitored and she's well fed, that's a huge difference so to us it's important that there is always captive breeding programmes to ensure these beautiful birds don't diminish in numbers.
THE NON FEATHERED TEAM
ALESSI & FLUER.
This little pair are hilarious to watch and so many hours slip away while sitting and witnessing their antics. They chitter, squabble, sunbathe and generally entertain for hours on end.
We make sure that every single day they face a new challenge whether it's hiding food in a ball pool, cardboard boxes or pine cones they love to be active and it's important they have stimulation.
10 Meerkat facts.
1. They share baby sitting duties.
2. They warm their bellies which circulates heat throughout their whole body.
3. There's always one officially 'on duty'.
4. No two Meerkats have the same voice.
5. Although they work as a team they can be incredibly selfish.
6. They are a thriving species.
7. They are competative over personal space.
8. They're ominivores.
9. They love to snack on scorpions.
10. Meerkats are diurnal once the sun is up, they carefully emerge from their burrow and spend some time sunbathing and grooming.
HAZEL THE LAMB.
One of two lambs born to the mum but she didn't have enough milk for the both so our neighbour Angél kindly offered her to us as a pet and she's a dear little tot who will probably end up chasing around the garden with the dogs which will be hilarious to watch.
A Spanish version of the Jacob sheep, she has wonderful markings and very, very long legs.
She was born on September 1st 2018 so still has a lot of growing to do, in the meantime she's sharing the mews with the birds as it's lovely and warm.
AND THERE'S MORE LITTLE ONES ARRIVING SHORTLY....................
Ducks, ducklings, guinea pigs & rabbits will soon be taking up residence at Cortijo Búho. We are primarily an education facility, more than ever children need to learn how to keep animals properly in safe, clean environments where they can be enjoyed for many years. Pets are not disposable.
While adults and older children can learn about the birds of prey, little ones can safely play (under supervision) with the rabbits and guinea pigs who will have an outdoor enclosure with lots of tunnels and an underground house to escape to if they want to.
THIS IS WHERE WE ALL LIVE.
An 11th century cave house overlooking a lush green valley where sea water passed creating a deep inland course enabling traders of silks & spices to sell their wares from the port of Huescar which is 217km from the sea.
The whole area is steeped in history and one local village has been declared the earliest European settlement dating back to the 8th century. Roman remains are scattered throughout the locality from pottery to the sites of wealthy Roman villa's with their footings and pathways. There's an adventure to be had everyday or you can simply enjoy the beauty of mountains and lakes scattered throughout the province and don't forget the Alhambra Palace in the city of Granada.
The rest of the family all rescued in one way or another.
Cortijo Búho is a proud member of the International Owl Society.