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Students at Bath College design new space for Sparky the barn owl

Animal care students at Bath College have created a new space for Sparky the barn owl – one of the college’s oldest and most-loved birds.

Seven work-based level 3 animal care students were asked to furnish a new aviary for Sparky who has been at the college since 1997.

She has been housed in several aviaries, and spent time with the animal care department in Keynsham when it was based at Ellsbridge House.

The new aviary, a spacious modern design, is part of an upgrade to facilities at Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus in Radstock.

Students were asked to think about what to place inside the aviary and have worked hard to make it a suitable habitat for Sparky.

Work-based animal care student Roxy splits her time between studying at Bath College and volunteering at an animal rescue centre in Frome.

The group of work-based students spend their time at a variety of places, including Chew Valley Community Farm and the Bath Cats and Dogs Home.

Roxy, 17, from Peasedown St John, said: “I like looking after owls, I like their different characters and the way they show off. Everyone knows Sparky at the college. “

We had to think about placing the water bowl so she didn’t get wet, because her feathers aren’t water-proof. It’s nice that she has this much space.”

Bath College supervisor Katie Parfitt said: “This group carries out a lot of practical work in the animal care department and between the seven of them, they designed and put together the interior fittings for Sparky’s new aviary.

“They all worked well as a team, helping each other when needed with this physical task. I’m very pleased with the outcome and Sparky seems very happy being able to use all parts of her new aviary.

“She’s making use of the potted trees and branches that the students put in, and she even has her own tepee made from branches for her to shelter under if she gets caught out in the rain.”

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