Saturday May 1st 2010
We’ve seen a few more owlets this week… We have at least 5 Northern Hawk Owlets in the Main Display. Two of them are out of the nestbox for the first time today. I have heard owlet noises in with our Dark-breasted Barn Owls in the Breeding Ground. We are at present feeding all our small birds with small mice in the morning. My reasoning being that it is easier for small owls to take these up to the nest sites. This has been confirmed by the fact that more of the morning feeds have been taken. Whilst I haven’t had any confirmation, I am hopeful that, if the increased food intake is anything to go by, that many of our small birds have been successful in hatching their eggs.
The owlets we pulled and put in the hospital are doing okay now. The two White-faced Owlets are self feeding. The Chaco Owlets have been moved to the quarantine, and seem to have found their wings, as they are perched quite high up in the branches in their enclosure.
We have a few species which are due to hatch around now. Two species we are quite excited about are the Brown fish owls and the Turkemenian Eagle Owls.
Being realistic, I think it is quite likely that the Brown Fish Owl’s eggs are infertile, but the chances are that the Turk’s (short for Turkemenian Eagle Owl) are fertile.
Here we have another of the Owl Centre’s characters. The male has been given the name of ‘Homer’ by the keepers. I don’t think Homer entirely fulfills the ’brief of Eagle Owl’, in that there is an inappropriate adjective for an Eagle Owl which certainly applies to Homer, namely ‘cute’. Homer doesn’t exude any menace whatsoever! He just sits by the feed table in the morning waiting to be fed a mouse. It would be nice if we managed to breed Turks, as we haven’t bred them here at the centre for at least 15 years.
We had a bit of high drama on Thursday, in that I had to break up a fight between two of Mortimer’s understudies, i.e. ‘Toby’ the Tawny Owl and ‘Kevin’ the Kestrel. Going by witness accounts, Kevin started the fight by grabbing Toby through the mesh which separates their aviaries. Kevin is a bit of a ‘pugilist’, and has a history of fighting off the wild kestrel population, so he is prepared to fight his own shadow. However, Kevin may have started the fight. Toby finished it!
Toby grabbed Kevin with his powerfully talons round the fleshy of the thigh, causing deep penetration wounds. Kevin has been at the vet’s for observation, and a course of precautionary antibiotics to ward off any likely infection from his wounds. As I write this, Kevin has just arrived back from the vet’s, and is ready to go back out in his aviary. I hope he has learned his lesson, and steers clear of Toby in the future.
I will leave you with a few pictures of our Mackinder’s Eagle Owls, ‘Bert’ courting ‘Betty’ with a juicy morsel.
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