A barn owl swooped silently over the heads of wide-eyed children at Cromer library.

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The roofspace over the bookshelves also hosted the flight of a kestrel, while a roof truss became a resting place for a rogue rook.

Down below children also got to grips with reptiles including an 8ft boa constrictor snake.

The Animal Magic session was staged by the Seal and Bird Rescue trust from Ridlington in North Norfolk.

One of the presenters, volunteer David Carr, said: “The children touched Sky the owl and felt its soft feathers which help it fly silently.

“We used an electronic box hidden among them to show how it hunts by sound. Then they saw how the kestrel flies faster, and how the rook- despite owls being ‘wise” - was more intelligent and could remember where food was hidden under a cup.”

There was an added bit of fun when Munin the rook decided to sit it out in a roof beam until after the show ended, when it was tempted down by some mealworms.

“We showed them the snakes, to encourage children not to buy them without doing research,” said Mr Carr.

All the creatures were from the rescue centre near Bacton, which does similar visits to school and field study centres, as well as summer shows at outdoor events.

Library manager Anne Smith said the wildlife session was part of its programme of events to show the facility was “more than just books” and that “you don’t have to be silent in a library”.

It was attended by about 80 people, mostly children, was suggested by the library’s user group and funded through the Tesco community fund.

Cromer library has a range of regular “extras” - from children’s music groups, and story sessions, to carer support meetings, Age UK drop ins, and help with family history research.

Upcoming special events include a talk and demonstration about fishermens’ step-dancing by Fiona Davies and Tony Rogers on Monday January 27 from 10am to noon, and a Way of the Warrior martial arts session from 2pm-3.15pm on Wednesday February 19. For more information call 01263 512850.

To find out more about the rescue centre - or to help as a volunteer - contact it on 01692 650338 or visit www.sealbirdrescuetrust.co.uk.

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