FEATHERY friends delighted weekend shoppers in Bolton.

Endangered birds of prey from Lancashire Hawks and Owls paid their first visit of the New Year to Bolton Market Place shopping centre.

Shoppers and visitors had the chance to get up close and personal with tawny owls, barn owls, eagle owls, little owls and harris hawks at the outdoor display.

Margaret Price, who helps to run the Lancashire Hawks and Owls charity, said: “We’re here so people can have a look at birds or have their picture taken with them as part of our fundraising. We don’t receive any funding and it is difficult time for us after Christmas.

“The wet weather can be terrible for these birds in the wild. Owls do not have waterproof feathers so, if they get wet, they cannot fly.

“One of our tawny owls was rescued from a waterlogged area recently. By bringing them out it gives more people the chance to learn about these endangered birds — they are all very special.”

In captivity, owls can live up to 18 years but in the wild may only survive for a year — which is why they are so endangered.

Carol Rigby, aged 49, from Sharples, said: “I’m frightened of birds when they’re flying, but I love coming to see these birds. I love them particularly because I have a tawny owl and a barn owl who visit my garden. I think they’re wonderful.”

For more details, visit lancashirehawksand owls.co.uk