Wednesday 25th November 2014
We’re doing a spot of re perching at the moment. Both Sophie and I did the African Spotted Eagle Owls in the Main Display last week. Often, when you re branch an aviary, the owls have a wild look of incomprehension, as their perches are no longer where they expect them, and they try landing where their old perch used to be, with the inevitable confusion to follow. This maybe sounds a little cruel, but it is quite important to change their perching arrangement from time to time, as this changes the way they use their feet. If they are using the same perch year in, year out, they end up putting pressure on only certain parts of their feet, which might result in them developing a callous which might split, which in turn could result in bumble foot, a nasty infection. This isn’t a problem as such for wild birds, as they have an unlimited amount of perches to choose from. I know of wild Common and Red Tailed Buzzards getting bumble foot as a result of Squirrel bites, but in captivity, it is usually down to bad perching.
Anyway, the African Spotted Eagle Owls seemed to register their approval by immediately checking their new arrangements out. It would seem they have found new favourite places, if the droppings are anything to go by! It might be tempting to arrange things in such a way so as to avoid droppings falling in a certain way, but as far as I’m concerned, if there are lots of droppings near a certain perch, this, to me, signals the owl’s approval. The owls didn’t choose to be in captivity, therefore it behoves to me to allow them to be as happy as possible. Giving them a new favourite place to perch goes a little way towards that.
See you next week.
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