Tuesday April 3rd 2012
Last week was summer, this week it’s winter, or so we are led to believe. What I do know is that the rain we had overnight was sorely needed. The vegetation has suddenly become very ‘verdant’. Whatever the weather is doing, the seasons march on at their own pace. It’s the same with the owls. They aren’t confused. It’s the breeding season regardless of the weather. I’m happy to say that we can confirm that at least one of our pairs of Mackinder’s Eagle Owls has bred. In the Breeding Ground we have two potential breeding pairs; ‘Bruce and Nialla’, and ‘Bert and (sweaty) Betty’. We have heard the unmistakable sound of an Eagle Owlet in the nest box of Bert and Betty. This is good news, as the population of Mackinder’s Eagle Owls in the UK has long been an ageing one. The problem is that because they have been relatively common in captivity in the UK, nobody has bothered to breed them.
David Armitage, our collection manager has been attempting to re envigour the UK population by setting up possible new bloodlines. Fingers crossed this effort will be successful.
I was cleaning the Main Display last week, and had just emptied the bath in the Laybourne Aviary. This is the big multi species exhibit, and happened to glance down to find a Long-eared Owl in the ‘empty’ bath, proceeding to wash itself in the nonexistent water. This went on for some time; the owl even shook off the nonexistent excess water. Sometimes you just wonder what planet they’re on.
See you next week
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The World Owl Trust is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA). The Trust relies on a dedicated membership, visitors, donations and legacies.