“For Soren and Chobin, Ludovica and I are simply other, larger owls”, says Andrea of the two barn owls that the couple have raised since they were chicks. “Soren always flies to Ludovica rather than me, because he’s a male – he sees me as a bit of a rival”.
The company set up by the young couple is called Ali nel Vento – ‘Wings in the Wind’. However, the birds of prey demonstrations organised by Andrea and Ludovica, both at fixed times of day and for private groups, are only part of their remit. They work with schools that have conservation and nature programmes in place, and are also bird control experts, helping public and private firms to limit damage by pigeons, starlings and other potentially invasive avian species.
Barn owls have something soothingly wise about their appearance; the next member of the Ali nel Vento extended family, Hannibal the European eagle owl, has a more rapacious appearance, with his alert ears and striking, watchful orange eyes. Perched on Ludovica’s gloved hand, he suddenly stretches his wings and takes flight, his tense, terse form set off by the deep blue of sea and sky.
Finally come the peregrine falcons, with their leather hoods, used as calming devices – pergerines are jittery birds and easily take fright.
A visit to Ludovica and Andrea’s avian sanctuary far above Positano is not one you easily forget. I can still feel the poise of barn owl Soren as he perched on my leather falconer’s glove: so majestic, and yet almost weightless.
Ali nel vento, www.lealinelvento.com. Guests of Le Sirenuse should ask the concierge for more information: both private and group visits can be arranged.
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