Saturday March 27th 2010
The weather is such that now I’m feeling distinctly overdressed, as I am still in the habit of walking about in winter attire.
I’ve just been down the ‘Breeding Ground’, and have been watching one of our two potential breeding pairs of Mackinder’s Eagle Owls interacting with each other. This pair are affectionately known as ‘Bert’ and ‘Betty’. Betty reminds me of a rather ‘scary’ lady that used to be a bouncer in my hometown back in my youth. This pair had five eggs; I say ‘had’, as they have managed to hatch at least one of those eggs in the last few days. One owlet was seen yesterday by Vicky. This is good news, as we have only bred them once before in the last 15 years. This species has declined somewhat in captivity because, being common in collections, they have been hard to place in the past, and as a result, not many people have bred them. Our collection manager David has managed to acquire a few un-related individuals, and hopefully this is a sign of things to come. I had a good feeling about these two, as ‘Bert’ has been very attentive to ‘Betty’. Having said that, if I were him, I would have been very attentive too, not wanting to get on her wrong side. Bert can be seen ‘smearing’ some tasty morsel such as a chick or even a mouse in Betty’s face, (there’s true love for you).
All the birds on the webcam are now in breeding mode, The Ashy-faced Owls have 2 eggs; the African Spotted Eagle Owls have 2 owlets; the Great Grey Owls have just settled down to incubate their eggs.
We have just had our first week of ‘Meet The Birds’, and that has been a trifle ‘patchy’, due to the weather, and also because the front lawn was out of bounds due to the castle experimenting with a ‘zipwire’, which ran all the way from a big Noble Fir on the meadow, onto the front lawn. Having said that, I feel that the presentation is now back on track, and should be on good form for the Easter festive weekend. We have even signed 2 new ‘Friends Of Mortimer’.
I will leave you with a picture of ‘Chocolate’ the Eagle Owl, performing on one of the ‘balls’ on the front lawn.
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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.