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‘They must have been terrified’: Young owls rescued from Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage after Guns N’ Roses set

Axl and Slash, named after the band’s lead vocalist and guitarist, endured two full days of loud music before being rescued

Sarah Ping
Wednesday 05 July 2023 08:35 BST
Glastonbury: Rick Astley, Lizzo and Guns N' Roses light up Pyramid Stage on Saturday

Two young owls have been named after members of Guns N’ Roses after they were found under the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury during the rock band’s headline set.

The team at Secret World Wildlife Rescue (SWWR) in Somerset said the recovery was “the most unusual disturbance case” this year.

According to the rescuers one of the owls, named Axl after the band’s vocalist Axl Rose, was discovered under the steps of the prestigious Pyramid Stage during the rock group’s set on Saturday June 24.

The next day, SWWR received a call about a second owl found under the stage. It was called Slash in honour of guitarist Saul Hudson’s stage name.

Axl and Slash, who are thought to be siblings, were quickly reunited at the RSCPA West Hatch Wildlife Centre in Taunton before being transferred to SWWR.

It is understood the chicks were abandoned by their parents and it is not known how long they were left alone, although SWWR believes they were exposed to loud music.

David Plant, fundraising manager at SWWR, was worried for the young owls’ safety, saying they “must have been terrified”, but expressed his gratitude to the people who helped find the chicks.

“When Guns N’ Roses were playing ‘Welcome to the Jungle’, I’m sure they didn’t realise how close they actually were to wildlife,” he said.

Young owls, Axl and Slash, endured two days of loud music at Glastonbury before being rescued from under the Pyramid Stage (Secret World Wildlife Rescue/PA)

“This is possibly the most unusual disturbance case we’ve heard about this year, but it just goes to show the importance of checking your surrounding for wildlife before any activity.

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“It looks like the parents sadly abandoned their nest once festival preparation began, so it’s difficult to say how long the chicks were left alone.

“We’re so grateful to the people who found and helped them; they must have been terrified after enduring almost two full days of loud music.”

(Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

Mr Plant urged people to check long-standing structures or materials for any wildlife and avoid disturbing nests.

“Whether you’re renovating your garden, or setting up for the world’s biggest musical festival, our advice is always the same: if you’ve got materials or structures that have been in place for a while, please check them carefully before moving anything, as you may end up disturbing a nest,” he said.

Typically, owls are cavity-nesting species and prefer making homes in old trees, though some have been known to nest in rabbit holes and man-made boxes.

For these little owls, it seems the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury made for an ideal nesting spot, despite the booming music.

Mr Plant said the pair are safe and well in the SWWR aviary and were “pleased” to be reunited.

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