Saturday April 17th 2010
We have reached the stage in the breeding season where developments are taking place almost hourly, and it becomes hard to keep pace with events. I was talking with David this morning, and our records show that species such as the Ashy-faced Owls in the Main Display and the Magellan Horned Owls in the Breeding Ground are due to hatch their eggs as we speak. We have to assume their eggs are fertile, so that we can be ready for the desired outcome. However, I will be quite surprised if the Magellan Horned Owl’s eggs hatch out, as these birds are still very young, and even if the female is physically mature enough to lay eggs, the male isn’t necessarily mature enough to fertilize them. It isn’t beyond the realms of possibility though.
We have had some confirmed sightings of a White-faced Owlet in the Owl Garden. We can only see one, there may be more as yet. We will have to wait and see. If we go poking around in the nest box, we may upset the parents, and the end result might be that they end up killing their offspring, which we would of course like to avoid. Other species like the Brown Wood Owls in the main display are due to hatch now. I can hear some loud ‘wittery’ owlet noises coming from the nestbox of the Brown Wood Owls in the Breeding Ground, which is good. I can understand, (being a parent myself), why both parents are outside the nestbox. They are obviously both desperate for a bit of peace and quiet! The food intake of the Ferruginous Pygmy Owls has increased, which is encouraging. Sometimes, monitoring the amount of food taken is the only way of knowing something has changed. The African relative of the Ferruginous Pygmy owls, namely the Pearl Spotted Owlets in the Owl Garden appear to have gone into ‘breeding mode’, as the female has been out of sight for a few days. I built them a bespoke nestbox during the off-season. Hopefully that effort will pay off, as this would be a ‘first time’ of breeding for the Trust.
The African Spotted Eagle Owlet has finally made it off the shelf today. It can at present be seen up near the front of it’s aviary on the ground, hissing and clicking at anybody taking an interest.
We have pulled two Chaco Owlets. These are from our resident breeding pair in the Main Display. They are approximately 4 weeks old, and are self feeding by now, which is good, as this means we can keep human contact to a minimum, and keep them as wild as possible. For anybody wishing to know more about the reason why they have been taken away from their parents, please look at my article ‘Fighting Flies’.
I will leave you with a picture of ‘Betty’ and her owlet, and a picture of the Chaco Owlets in the wildlife hospital.
|Betty (Mackinder’s Eagle Owl) with one of her owlets
Photo courtesy Wulf Ingham
|Chaco Owlets in the Wildlife Hospital
Photo courtesy Wulf Ingham
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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.