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Thursday 18th December, 2014

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Wulf’s Blog


Saturday April 24th 2010

I know I often start the blog with an observation about the weather, and this week is no exception. The weather today finally feels Spring like. All week there has been this ‘lazy thin’ northerly wind which goes right through you.

The ‘Meet The Birds’ display is starting to acquire it’s own routine now. The new digital cameras and printers are becoming familiar with use as well.

We have had a student on placement here at the Trust, who had waited 5 years to be able to work here. Her name is Amy Duran, and she was with us for a month, working mostly with Hilary, and sometimes with the keepers. Amy came in this morning to say goodbye, as she is going home today, and before leaving, said a very nice thing, which was; “even though I had to wait 5 years to be able to to do my placement, it has all been worth it.” I am glad we have lived up to her expectations. Amy plans to come back and volunteer with us on the bank holiday weekend and during fool week at Spring bank. We look forward to seeing her then.

On the owl front, there has been another development, in that our ‘White-faced Owls’ in the Owl Garden have bred for the first time. They are as yet still very in-experienced. They had three owlets, which is a nice sized brood for White-faced Owls. What happens with all owlets, is that eventually they leave their nestboxes to explore the wider world. This usually happens before they are able to fly, and they end up on the ground. This is a ‘rite of passage’. These White-faced Owlets did all the normal things that owlets do, but then we had some quite sharp ground frosts last week, and unfortunately one of them succumbed to Hypothermia. We picked up the owlet on Wednesday and put it in a brooder to warm it up. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the owlet didn’t make it. The other two have been put in the hospital as a precaution, and seem to be doing okay. The Chaco Owlets we picked up last week are doing fine too.

Some of our other breeders are showing some signs that significant developments are afoot. We have some ‘Boobook Owls’ in the Main Display, which are reliable breeders. The Female has been sitting in her nestbox for months, likely for some time of that on eggs. The thing is, that not until now, she has developed this ‘malevolent aura’. She regards you with eyes that would make a ‘Dalek’ look sympathetic by comparison. This species is quite small in stature, but punches well above it’s weight. This female reminds me a bit of an old aunt of mine, who went by the name of ‘Ethyl’. My aunt Ethyl was very small in stature, but was lethal when she had a drink inside her. Consequently she was barred from most pubs in her hometown due to fighting. I think the female Boobook is very like Ethyl, as she fixes you with a glare, as she pops out of her nestbox when anybody is foolish enough to enter her enclosure. She then immediately goes into attack mode, and launches herself at the intruders face, which usually induces a hasty retreat. I haven’t been brave enough to get a good photo of her yet, but on the owl video clips on the website, the clip entitled ‘whoo are you?’ is of the Boobooks, and are the offspring of said female. Needless to say, I think she is defensive because she has hatched her eggs. We have increased her food, and we will be able deduce from the food consumption whether her incubation has been successful.

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