Meet Mrs Robinson – she’s a gorgeous lady with flashing eyes who falls in love often and gets passionately jealous about her man.
But luckily for falconers Mike Kinder and Mark Allen, giant European eagle owl Mrs R keeps her affections well under control at all other times – and she’s one of the star attractions of their new business.
After a lifetime working in the steel industry, Mike and Mark are about to launch their new company, North Yorkshire Moors Birds of Prey.
And although they’re expert falconers – they’ve even trained a barn owl to deliver a ring during a wedding service – they still needed guidance on how to set up a business.
So they turned to Redcar Enterprise Team for help – the team is part of Redcar and Cleveland Council and offers local businesses at least 12 hours of free tailored support.
The pair now plan to launch their business on May 1.
Mark, 46, from Guisborough (pictured above and below, right), fell in love with birds of prey when he was a boy watching the film Kes.
He said: “I took up falconry with Mike years ago, and he’s taught me a lot.
“But I’ve always dreamed of being able to do more with it, and when I was made redundant from the ESCO foundry it was the perfect time.”
Mike, 66, from Boosbeck, has just retired – from SSI – and the two have been busily preparing for their new business venture by building up an impressive cast of owls, falcons and hawks.
They include Barnie – the ring-bearing barn owl – Spitfire the kestrel, and tiny Ben, who lives up to his breed name of Little Owl, as well as several others.
“All of our birds are real characters,” said Mark.
“Mrs Robinson is named after the lady in The Graduate because at certain times of the year she falls in love with Mike and gets very possessive.”
Mike and Mark plan to offer pest control services, using their birds to scare off pigeons and other nuisances in an environmentally-friendly way, and they will be putting on displays and static shows with environmental talks at country fairs and other events.
As well as offering Barney’s unique and eye-catching services at weddings, they will also offer training courses in flying and caring for birds of prey in captivity.
“The list is endless, and we’re extremely excited about the business,” said Mark.
Made up of skilled business coaches, the Enterprise Team is focused on helping companies across the borough to achieve their goals, including moving premises, increasing their turnover and improving profitability.
* Mark and Mike will be displaying their birds at the Victoria Hotel at Robin Hood’s Bay throughout Easter school holidays with all the birds on show and plenty of opportunities to ask questions and learn about the birds and their habitat. Their website will be up and running by April, and they can be contacted on 07740 611881.
Find out more about the Enterprise Team at www.theenterpriseteam.co.uk