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World Owl Trust - leading the World in Owl Conservation

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Monday 22nd December, 2014

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Wulf’s Blog


Wednesday 28th August 2013

Suddenly we're on the tail end of summer. The August bank holiday is now behind us, and we can now look forward to September. I know that technically summer doesn't finish until the equinox on the 21st of September, but intuitively it feels like the start of autumn on the 1st of September.

Both Millie and I went off to pick up an injured wild Buzzard in Mitre Dale yesterday. It was a juvenile. This is quite easy to see, as juveniles have very pale almost yellow eyes. These darken off to dark brown in mature adults. Being a long lived bird with a life expectancy of 30+ years, they don’t reach maturity until they are around 3 years old. Unfortunately this individual was skeletal thin, with a bad break in its left wing. The actual survival rate for many birds of prey into their second year can be as low as 15%. This is not surprising, when you realize they can’t afford to get injured, as this will impair their ability to hunt. When you combine this with the need to go into gravity assisted dives with speeds of over 60 miles per hour, you can see that the potential for injury is very great. If you were to give an 18 year old human a Ferrari, and then tell them to teach themselves to drive, what would be the likelihood of the human surviving another year?

Unfortunately, the young Buzzard's injuries were too severe, and had to be euthanased.

This week has been as much about people as it has about birds. The week leading up to the bank holiday saw Viking and Mediaeval re enactment at Muncaster, as well as chainsaw art by the very capable James Shelliker, who has kindly donated a carving of a Barn Owl to the World Owl Trust.

We also said 'goodbye' to a brilliant young volunteer who had been with us for the preceding 3 months on a full time basis; Sophie Holden. Sophie has a sunny out going character, which made her a hit with visitors old and young. I know she is moving on to bigger and better things, but I for one will miss her.

Last, but not least, I would like to remember a stalwart WOT fundraiser, who passed away last week. John Falconer was one of the WOT sponsored walk volunteers, who accompanied myself on one of my many jaunts into the fells of the Lake District. It was a pleasure and a privilege to have known you. Many a time we had to rely on John and his 'magic box', (GPS), to get us of the fell, as the weather pixies almost invariably 'brought the shutters down' in the form of bad weather. Rest easy friend.

See you next week


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John Falconer, on Striding Edge, Helvellyn in 2008
John Falconer, on Striding Edge, Helvellyn in 2008 Picture courtesy Wulf Ingham
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