In memory of Barney the Barn Owl

It is with great sadness that we confirm the passing of our much loved Barney the Barn Owl from Pets’ Corner.

Barney had been at Pets’ Corner in Jesmond Dene for many years after coming to us when his previous owner could no longer care for him. His owner heard that one of the Pets’ Corner team was training in Falconry and got in touch with us to rehome him.

Barney started his life as a solo chick, hand reared by a breeder, before living with one owner who took diligent care of him, so he has always been surrounded by people. Barn Owls are a protected species and require an Article 10 certificate containing important information about the bird’s origin, previous owners, and identifying features. This document also stated that Barney was suitable for display and education purposes. 

When Barney arrived in June 2014 he was a welcome addition to Pets’ Corner and formed a close bond with his main keeper, Hazel. Barney assisted Hazel through her training for a Falconry qualification and even travelled to Berwick with her to take part in her assessment. Hazel spent a lot of her free time with Barney, handling and caring for him.

Barney also helped the team at Urban Green Newcastle teach students from Northumberland College and Askham Byran College, and fellow keepers. Working with Barney, they learnt about how to care for birds of prey, which is quite different to other types of birds. It was a great experience for anyone who didn’t know about these beautiful, intelligent birds.

He received fantastic care with us, and his large enclosure allowed him to enjoy plenty of exercise. Barney’s prepared food and daily weigh ins meant he far outlived his wild counterparts, who live to an average age of five. During his eight years at Pets’ Corner, Barney aided education school group visit as well as talks on owls for the public.

Barney was a real character, and at times was choosy about who he allowed into his enclosure and who he worked with. His main keeper Hazel described him as “a diva of an owl”. He loved time together with people and often loved a head rub between his eyes and above them, giving a little chuckle as a sign of affection.

Barney passed on 30 March 2022 aged 16 years following a quickly developing heart condition. His passing came as a shock to all our staff and volunteers. Hazel would like to thank those who were working that day for their help and assistance, as well as Robson and Prescott Vets for their care and compassion toward him.

Hazel, Barney’s main keeper, said: “Barney made an impact on all who met him and was a favourite of those lucky enough to see him, or on some occasions, hear him through the evenings. He will be a great loss to Pets’ Corner and to me personally. As with people, you learn from animals and take the lessons they taught you with you throughout your life. Barney will always have a special place in my heart that cannot be replaced.”

If you have any memories of meeting Barney, or pictures/video of him at Pets’ Corner, we’d love it if you would share them on social media. You can find us on Facebook at or on Twitter at

If you would like to make a donation in memory of Barney you can do this via our Just Giving page, and if you mention Barney in your comment the donation will be directed towards future improvements to Pets Corner.