Saturday 29th January 2011
The first month of 2011 is almost over; we are getting to the time when we have to think about preparing the flying birds for the visitor season. It can take up to six weeks to get them ready. I mentioned last week that certain birds in our collection are thinking about breeding; well they are doing more than thinking about it! The White-faced Owls in the Owl Garden are almost certainly on eggs. The female has been down in the nest box for over a week now. She normally doesn’t sit in the nest box for nothing. She came out briefly when one of the keepers cleaned the back wall of the aviary, and went straight back in again. She wouldn’t do that if there wasn’t a good reason. The African Spotted Eagle Owls have been seen mating separate occasions this week by Kirsten; one of our volunteers, and also by myself.
There’s been another sign that winter is progressing towards spring; at home I have been hibernating two juvenile Hedgehogs. They came to me last October. They were siblings born too late in the season to accumulate enough body fat reserves to survive hibernation. I put them in a large hutch with lots of insulating straw. I have been putting hedgehog food out for them. At first they ate every day, then the weather got colder, MUCH colder, and they went into hibernation. They were ‘under’ for nearly two months; so much so that I was worried the cold had got to them. I continued to put fresh food out for them on a daily basis, feeling increasingly pessimistic. This week, at last, both saucers had been cleaned off and chucked about. I have to say, I am very relieved. I look forward to releasing them in April.
See you next week.
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|World Owl Trust
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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.