Saturday March 6th 2010
This morning was like a ‘normal’ morning, in that there wasn’t any frost! I didn’t have to scrape my car windscreen, and the hose pipes weren’t frozen, which meant we could do a full clean round the centre. When you manage to do a good clean, it helps to ‘set off’ all the hard work that has been done over the off-season. The centre is looking lovely right now, which probably didn’t go un-noticed by the two separate inspectors which came round. One of them was for health and safety, and the other was a zoo inspector. Both were very happy with their findings.
The owls have noticed that a change in the seasons is imminent, as a few more species appear to going into ‘breeding mode’. This week, the ‘Southern Horned Owls’, both up in the ‘Main Display’, and down in the ‘Breeding Ground’ appear to be on eggs; the female Tengmalm’s Owl has been in the nestbox for three days, (most interesting!). The Female Ferruginous Pygmy Owl has been in the nestbox for two days, and is hopefully going to to prove that last year'’ breeding success wasn’t a ‘fluke’.
If my calculations are right, the ‘African Spotted Eagle Owls’ in the ‘Main Display’ should have hatched their eggs by now. They are on permanent display on the webcams on our website. I was watching the male ‘feeding’ the female the day before yesterday, which was quite a ‘torturous’ experience, in that I think their mental powers function along the lines of a ‘bouncy ball ricocheting’ off the inside of their skulls, with no guarantee of the ‘desired outcome’. I watched the male land on the feed table and pick up some food with his beak. He then stood there, ‘in a trance’ for about five minutes, before ‘waking up’, and transferring the food to his talon. He then proceeded to look around, getting quite distracted by things around him, (only he knew what), before transferring the ‘titbit’ back to his beak, only to repeat the whole process again. By this time, I am losing the will to live, and move to the cameras in the entrance unit. This may have distracted him somewhat, because he now decided to fly up to the female in the nestbox, and is now in full view on the webcam. From what I can see of the female, she is ‘chittering/chirupping’ to the male for food. The male on the other hand, has gone into his ‘customary’ trance once more. He stands there for what seems an age, before the female in a ‘now or never’ attempt snatched at the food, causing the male to fly back down to the feed table, where he stands with the food in his talon for the foreseeable future. Eventually, this particular morsel was retrieved from the sand, where it had been abandoned, and put back on the feed table by yours truly here.
On a different note, we received ‘an Otter’ from a local vet. The Otter, a Dog Otter, was picked up by a member of the public, near a busy road. It appears to have suffered from concussion, and was most certainly ‘not quite with it’.
It came, late last Saturday, and we thought that it appeared quite friendly, which we deduced was due to the concussion. However, it has brightened up considerably now, and shows no fear of us humans whatsoever, which is quite worrying! The thing to bare in mind is that this animal is most certainly not tame, and has similar jaw power to a Badger, a close relative of the Otter, both being Mustelids. It has cottoned on to the fact that we are it’s providers of food, and it actively comes seeking food from us, which makes cleaning a little tricky! All being well, when we are sure it has made a sufficient recovery, it can be moved on to a more ‘Otter orientated’ establishment, from where it can be re-habilitated back into the wild.
Graham Smith came this week with his pupils from Ulverston High, and with the help of WOT staff managed to complete the preliminary work around the wildlife pond, ready for the main visitor season. Not only that, but Graham and his pupils managed to raise a substantial amount of funds towards the Cause. Well done, and thank-you Graham, and the pupils of Ulverston High.
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|World Owl Trust
Registered Charity Number: 1107529
Limited Company Number: 5296745
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.