Tuesday 18th March 2014
So far, the breeding season appears to have kicked off with a bang. We have a list of breeders as long as your arm. These are basically female owls which have, (presumably), gone out of sight in their nest boxes to lay eggs. We have a confirmed hatching at present, in the form of Mackinder’s Eagle Owls down in the Breeding Ground. Our pair; ‘Bert & Betty’ have hatched their clutch of eggs over the weekend. When I went to feed them on Friday and Saturday, Betty came straight down for food, and then went back up to the nest box. Aha! Thinks I, something appears to be happening there! On Sunday, the keepers confirmed my suspicion by actually hearing owlet calls from the box. Betty is at her offensive best at the moment, attacking me every opportunity she gets!
Peter the Great Horned Owl isn’t faring quite as well though. You may remember the mishap to his aviary last summer, when that massive branch fell through the roof. Both Peter and ‘Kath’ had to be relocated to the old Quarantine unit while extensive repairs were carried out. All had been well up till that point. Peter and Kath were getting along fine, even in the rather closer confines of the quarantine unit. Then we moved them back into their home again, and WHAM!! Kath suddenly took against him! We kept an eye on things, hoping things would improve. Peter has always been a very aggressive bird with the keepers. I still have the scars to prove it! On one occasion after moving back to his aviary, he attacked one of the keepers, and mid attack, he was himself attacked by Kath. It almost appears like poetic justice, but she wouldn’t even let him eat! We decided that enough was enough, and on Saturday Peter was taken out of the aviary, and moved to the quarantine unit. He was thin, but otherwise none the worse for wear. We shall have to see what transpires. Maybe this little problem will resolve itself when the collection has been relocated elsewhere.
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.