Helen, a Spotted Eagle-Owl was brought to Ganora in 2011.  A collision with a car left her with a broken wing which unfortunately could not be fixed.

Helen in the beginning grabbing food

Hi, my name is Trine Wagner, I come from Denmark. The 10th of February, 2014 I arrived at Ganora Guestfarm to do some volunteer work for Hester and J.P.
Hester introduced me to little Helen, and I immediately took on the challenge of starting to handfeed her.

 

First day training 15 feb

I am pretty familiar with raising owls because of my grandad, Joern Wagner. When he was my age he got really interested in owls, and started to handraise some of his own. In Denmark they call him 'The Owl-King' because of his huge knowledge of these amazing creatures.

A german group went to have a look

My grandad told me that it would be pretty difficult to handfeed a wild owl, but Helen has made really good progress. On 18 February she literally followed me all the way out because she just wanted more food from me.

Trine tries to get Helen closer

On 19 February I grabbed my gloves and went in to feed Helen as usual, but this time she ran towards me like she wanted to say hello. I held on to the meat and suddenly I could raise my hand while she sat patiently and ate the meat. For me, that was pretty amazing. 

Helen sits on Trines arm for the first time

Everytime I go to feed her, I always give her an "owl-call" and she answers me back. We don't talk about our feelings yet, as she is still a little bit shy and conservative but we will get there! We are just at the "hello"-stage...

Helen's progress 19 Feb

Instead of taking pictures through a fence, I got Hester to come in with me so we could get a proper picture of Helen sitting on my hand. The little wood house in the background, is Helen's - and she is just starting to get used to it.

Trine with Helen stuck to her hand

It's been long time since I posted a photo, but since the last picture of Helen, she have made such progress. Today, the 28th of March she was outside the cage for the first time. She was a little bit shy at first, but she enjoyed it very much. At first she just sat on my hand, eating like she always does - but eventually I could walk back and forth with her. Our plan is to feed her outside the cage every day, so the tourists at Ganora can have a closer look at our Helen.

Helen outside her cage

Here is a short video of Helen and me. I'm spending my last days at Ganora, and enjoying every minute of it. It has been a wonderful experience to try to tame a wild owl and share the same passion my Grandad had.
I am really going to miss Helen a lot, but I know that Hester and J.P are going to take good care of her!

       

Trine: we take care of Helen as well as we can and would love to show you the progress she has made by being free in the garden now.  Look at our news clip : www.ganora.co.za/news/helen_the_owl_free_around_the_house