Wednesday 14th August 2013
As I was hosting 'Meet the Birds' on Friday the 9th of August, I heard what I can only describe as another big tree coming down. As it happens, I also heard chainsaws, so I don’t think we need to get worried about it. Having said that, you've never heard anything like it, and it actually sounds quite apocalyptic! I’m not sure what the audience thought of it, as when it happens, you can 'feel' it just as much as you can hear it. You feel just how big it is; on a scale far bigger than anything human. I wonder whether insects and small mammals perceive humans on a similar level.
On the subject of falling wood, David the Collection Manager has ordered the timber needed for the repairs to the Great Horned Owl aviary round the back of the Wild Life Pond. The repairs will be 'ongoing' very soon.
One of our juvenile White-faced Owls has just gone on to another collection in the past few days; another sign that the season is marching on. We now have to start thinking about getting organised for Halloween! As things stand, the events at Muncaster are probably the biggest happenings in Cumbria at that time of year. We should also be doing our Spooky Owl Tours as part of the occasion.
I was asked to do an interview for BBC Radio Cumbria the other day. It was about the plight of the Barn Owl in the UK at present. It would seem that BBC Radio Cumbria wanted to know whether our findings corroborated with the findings of the Barn Owl Trust. Unfortunately 'they did'. The Barn Owl has had a bad time of it this year, with a cold spring, causing the Short-tailed Vole to start breeding later, which in turn meant that food availability was down; which in turn meant that Barn Owls weren’t reaching breeding condition. This has meant that when Millie, our Conservation Officer has been monitoring, that of 50 sites checked, 25 were empty - no owls at all, and only 6 sites were recorded as breeding at present, with owlets of around one week old. This means that the owl's fledging time will coincide with the weather getting worse, compounding what is already a diabolical year for the Barn Owl.
See you next week
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