An owl trainer had a hoot after appearing on Britain’s Got Talent, despite his feathered friend falling short on the day.
Andrew Charlton, 53, from Bourne, featured in the first episode of this year’s show on ITV1 on Saturday.
Andrew, who runs Berkley Owls display team, and eagle owl Rocky hoped to impress judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams with their obstacle course routine.
But when the big moment came, Rocky turned his head and stayed put on his perch.
After much coaxing Andrew eventually managed to get his owl through a tunnel, to much applause from the audience. But the judges weren’t impressed and pressed their red buzzers to send the pair home.
Reflecting on the performance, Andrew said: “Rocky was distracted. We perform at shows all over the UK and there was just a lot of activity going on in the wings.”
But Andrew added: “It was great fun. It would have been better if he had completed the course but it was fantastic being on the show.
“I had a couple of chats with Ant and Dec and I am probably one of their biggest fans now. They really did treat us well.”
Britain’s Got Talent is no stranger to animal performers.
In 2012 Ashleigh Butler and her dog Pudsey won the whole competition with their dancing act.
But an owl obstacle course is a first for the show.
Andrew has been training owls for about 20 years and keeps a number of different species in his home.
He tours the country putting on arena shows, which last about 30 minutes and feature owls swooping silently over audiences’ heads.
Andrew may not have got through to the Britain’s Got Talent final with Rocky, but he now has bigger and better things planned for his owls.
He added: “I wouldn’t be surprised if you see more of Rocky in the future.”