Tuesday 19th February 2013
It’s looking increasingly like the breeding season at Muncaster has started. We have the Pharaoh Eagle Owl female sat tight in her nest box. The female African Spotted Eagle Owl is doing the same. The Brown Fish Owl female is out of sight, as is the Chaco Owl female and also the female Tengmalm’s Owl in the Breeding Ground. Both pairs of Mackinder’s Eagle Owls in the Breeding Ground look like they are breeding. I’ll have to write a progress report later this week; what I call a breeder list update. This helps to keep tabs on what is happening.
We’ve made a start with training the flying birds ready for ‘Meet the Birds’ at the start of the flying season. The flying birds however, seem, (as always), to have other ideas. I got Dusk the Eagle Owl out of her aviary last week, only to be ‘savaged’ up to the elbow for my efforts. I won’t take it personally however, as she treats everybody like that! Mortimer, as we speak, is on a diet for the ‘fuller figure’. She needs to lose some of her ‘spare tyre’ before she will feel inclined to fly at all.
We have been doing a static display all last week, as this coincided with the start of the ‘half term holiday’ in Cumbria. It wasn’t particularly busy, but it appears to have picked up a bit this weekend, as this was when half term commenced everywhere else. Having said all that, audiences may have been small, but I have found them to be receptive, as on the occasions where I hosted ‘Meet the Birds’, I managed to recruit three family memberships. It would be nice to think that this is a good omen for the start of the season.
Another wildlife casualty came in towards the end of last week; a Kestrel was handed in, which had had a close encounter with a cat. It wasn’t looking too bright on Thursday night. It didn’t appear to have any broken bones, but its left wing was definitely being favoured. There were a few puncture marks, probably bites. The bird was most definitely in shock. I left it somewhere warm and quiet with some food, and checked it again first thing the following morning to find the bird much brighter and more alert. ‘She’d’ eaten overnight as well. I call it a ‘she’, as the markings are those of a female Kestrel. Mature males have a slate grey head and tail. Mature females are russet brown with black barring from the top of their head to the tip of their tail. Mind you, what complicates matters is that all immature Kestrels, (juveniles), are marked like females, so maybe I’m being a bit presumptuous. Anyway, the bird went to see the vet on Friday for a precautionary long acting anti biotic and anti inflammatory injection. Early signs are optimistic. Hopefully after a short spell in an aviary, ‘she’ will be able to be released again. Fingers crossed.
See you next week
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