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Thursday 28th August, 2014

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Wulf’s Blog

Wulf

Saturday 30th July 2011

The summer seems to be flying by. It’s only a blink of the eye since me and Mortimer performed at the 2010 Maryport Blues Festival. That was exactly a year ago. As things stand, we have just over a month left of what I would call the ‘High Season’; the time in which most tourist attractions have left in which to earn enough funds to tide them over the winter into next year. We are no exception.

On the owl side of things, we have sent one of this year’s juvenile Burrowing Owls to Harewood Bird Garden near Leeds. One of our juvenile Great Grey Owls is leaving us for another establishment very soon. We had to go in and ring both of this year’s owlets, as well as take some feather samples for feather sexing. This was quite ‘interesting’ as the Great Grey Owls are renowned amongst the keepers for being ‘well stocked’ with flat flies, a rather unpleasant bird parasite. As a matter of routine we tend to spray our youngsters with an anti mite spray, as well as worm them when we ring and feather sex them. What usually tends to happen is that the owl’s ‘stock’ merely transfers to the nearest keeper. A casual glance revealed Vicky to have at least a dozen crawling over her face and hair. I too had my fair share, as they tend crawl inside your hairline. Just writing this is making me itch.

On a slightly ‘less itchy’ note, this has seen the World Owl Trust embarking on a fundraising campaign to finance a nationwide nest box scheme for the Barn Owl in the UK. So far we have raised between £4000 and £5000. Please check out the Barn Owl Project link. I would like to point out that Defra’s agri environmental schemes have had a beneficial impact on Britain’s bio diversity, but that the Barn Owl’s natural choice of nest and roosting sites have gone down due in no small part due to our more modern methods of managing the land in general. Hollow trees are cut down in the name of health and safety, and old barns are turned into houses for people. It doesn’t matter how good the habitat is if the opportunity to breed isn’t available. Hopefully by providing suitable nest boxes we might be able to help improve the Barn Owl’s breeding percentage.

Wulf
Head Keeper

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