Saturday 12th February 2011
We had a sad statistic here at the Centre this week. I say statistic, as on breeding lists all over the British Isles and beyond, there will be, for every species to have successfully bred, a separate list of offspring, and what happened to them. One option on the list regarding the fate of said youngsters is ‘DNS’; ‘Did Not Survive’. This particular option unfortunately applied to our juvenile Indian Eagle Owl; born in December during the extreme cold snap. It was found dead on Tuesday the 8th of February. There wasn’t an obvious cause of death other than being thin. The dead owlet went to the vet for a post mortem. Our vet concluded on examination that the owlet’s digestive track was completely empty, and hadn’t eaten in days. Other pathology concluded the owlet was devoid of any infections or other underlying problems. He concluded that the owlet had simply ‘forgotten’ to eat. We had certainly provided plenty of food. I always provided an extra feed during my early morning rounds. Often when I returned with the main feed, there would still be some food left. Our vet’s conclusion that the owl had forgotten to eat isn’t as farfetched as it at first might appear; just think about human infant mortality. How many infants are fussy eaters? Going back to the middle ages when food consisted mostly of root vegetable stew, infant mortality was very high often for no other reasons than that the infant was fussy, and the desperate parents couldn’t afford to feed them any other way. Maybe there’s a similarity in some cases with infant animals and birds. Who knows?
I have been telling you about the upcoming sponsored walk, and how it will be the hardest one yet. This will require all participants to prepare and get fit and ready. I have to confess, that at present, I am as unfit as I have been in a long time. I was going to start building up my fitness levels when, my rather large and rather gormless Old English Sheepdog decided to run into me at full pelt and ‘stretch’ the ligaments in my right ankle. This left me groaning on the ground, clutching my ankle. It means that for the next couple of weeks I won’t be improving my fitness levels. It should have improved by then. Fingers crossed.
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