ONE of the newest recruits at a bird of prey centre could be forgiven for thinking he’s out on a limb - or maybe that should be wing - as he’s over 13,000 miles from his native home.

Bruce the Kookaburra was born at the centre at Thorp Perrow Arboretum, near Bedale, but his ancestors would undoubtedly have been flying around the Australian outback.

And now along with younger recruit Freya the baby Great Grey Owl they’re establishing themselves as the latest stars in the family of birds at Thorp Perrow.

Falconer Luke Thompson said Bruce, although still a baby at three months old, is already keen to take part in displays.

Kookaburras are relatives of the kingfisher family but are carnivorous living on mice and voles.

Mr Thompson explained: “It is unusual to have a Kookaburra, Bruce was hatched here and has been really keen to take part in the displays. It is up to the birds if they don’t want to do it then they won’t, but he seems to really enjoy it.”

However he is undoubtedly going to be dwarfed by the other newcomer Freya the Great Grey Owl. Currently only six weeks old she will grow up to between two feet and three feet tall with a wingspan up to 5ft 10in, Great Greys are the world tallest owls.

Luke added: “We have been getting her used to people and the audiences and she is already a budding star trying to fly even though she hasn’t got her adult wings yet and she will sit on my bare hand. We do three displays a day over the summer and the birds are stunning to watch. It is a real privilege to work with them. They can spend three quarters of their lives doing displays but it really is up to them.

“If there comes a time when they don’t want to do it they retire. We would hope with Bruce we will be able to find him a mate and breed more Kookaburras, that would be ideal.”