Valentines Day at the Scottish Owl Centre, and lurrve is in the air…
… for some of the owls at least!
Some of the young couples have been mentioned in my blog before; the Great Horned Owls that hoot through the night, the Siberian Eagle Owls, the Tropical Screech Owls, all have been hooting and calling for some time now. Last month the female Siberian Eagle Owl laid two eggs – she didn’t sit on them and they weren’t fertile, but it was a promising start as the pair had only been together around 5 months. The male is still hooting from evening to dawn and takes her gifts of food. I have been noticing something strange in their aviary the last few days and today came to a theory about what is going on…
Our aviaries are brand new, obviously, and so far haven’t had much in the way of plants put in them. One or two do have small leylandii conifer trees planted in them, and the Siberian Eagle Owl pen is one of them. As you can see from the photo here this tree does not look happy! Looking closer you can see the bark has been ‘nibbled’ and a lot of bits of branches and leaves have been pulled off. Is the female getting broody? Is she pulling at nesting material? Most owls don’t make nests, just use someone elses old one, but what other reason could there be? Maybe it isn’t her, maybe it is the male? Say it with flowers, or say it with chewed up bits of leylandii tree? A mystery!
Well that’s something I’ll have to keep watching and wondering, but what about new romance? Well we have that too.
Our pair of Snowy Owls have bred in the past and have been one of the most easily settled in the new location for the Scottish Owl Centre. The male in particular seems to really enjoy sitting on the huge rocks quite close to the front of the aviary, where he often catches a bit of sun. Well today sunbathing wasn’t the only thing on his mind. Food is another of his most favourite things in the whole world, so for him to offer some to his mate shows true adoration! With Snowy Owls it isn’t just a case of ‘hoot hoot here have some food’, no, he has a very special dance.
It does look bizarre to you and me, but he picks up some food in his bill and shuffles about making very odd noises, more like a pig than a bird! His body crouched low to the ground and his wings held up half open from his body, he sways his head left and right. He does look very silly! At the moment she seems to agree, not being impressed one bit. Keep in there lad, even Romeo didn’t win fair Juliet in one day!
I will of course keep you updated on how our hopeful romances progress – hopefully we will see some more eggs soon!
Not all of our owls are in pairs. Some are single birds. We’re trying our best to find them a partner and some have already been located. In a few weeks we will have new birds arriving at the Centre. A mate for our Spectacled Owl, a mate for our Striped Owl, one for our African Wood Owl, all arriving before we open to the public. There are a few owls that we still haven’t found a pair for yet. So it’s a bit of Lonely Hearts for our hopeful singles.
And then of course there is Sarabi the Milky Eagle Owl. Although not technically looking for a male Milky Eagle Owl as she is an imprint, and doesn’t know she is an owl. She has been feeling a little broody lately. She sang to me while I was fitting a catch to the back of the door of her aviary today. Thanks Sarabi, lovely voice!
And with that I think I’d better sign off before it gets too silly round here! Gnite all!