It was a pretty full day at the Scottish Owl Centre today, but then isn’t every day? I mean that in the best way of course
The day started out cold, really cold, minus two Celsius even. As expected this brought about the return of my old nemesis; frozen hosepipes! At least all the owls were okay. I didn’t have to pick any up or move them to sheltered areas like I did during the blizzards a couple of days ago.
So it was a chilly start, but most of the day we saw sunshine, and this brought a steady flow of visitors to the centre. It is so good to see and hear people enjoying the owl centre. We still have things we want to do around the centre and we’ll get to them as time goes by.
We got one of these things done this morning at least. It seems quite a small thing to have put up a nestbox, but for our pair of Ashy Faced Owls it is a pretty big thing. With so many of our owls showing signs of breeding lately it became pretty urgent to get a box in the pen for one of our target species. Ashy Faced Owls are a member of the Barn Owl family from the Caribbean, and are the most endangered owls in collections in Europe or anywhere in the world. A captive breeding programme acts as a first line ‘insurance policy’ against global extinction in the wild. It is hoped that a conservation project in the Dominican Republic will be picked up again this year, and Ashy Faced Owls bred in captivity may potentially help boost wild populations. That could be a long way off though, so until then it is important to keep as many pairs breeding in captivity as possible. Our pair have bred in previous years (one offspring lives in the aviary next to them at the new centre) and usually in April or May. So, the box is there and hopefully they will begin to investigate it tonight.
Our flying displays went well again today, with the birds still making improvements as they get more used to the indoor arena. Oulu the Great Grey Owl was particularly spectacular in the lunchtime show today.
Following on from yesterday, where Broo the European Eagle Owl was fitted with new anklets, today I had her sit on my arm a while as I walked her around the arena and then around the centre. She was quite overawed by the big wide world, but for her first venture out of her aviary since moving here this is only to be expected. I fed her little bits of food as we walked about to help reassure her and remind her that the ‘glove is friend’. We will keep this up each day and she will get more settled each time. She is a big girl! Along with our Siberian Eagle Owls Broo is as big as you can get in the owl world and the largest in our display team. I was really curious about how heavy she is but couldn’t get her on the scales on her first day out. Maybe we should have a ‘guess the weight’ competition?
Okay that’s all for tonight folks, time to sign off. Before I go though I want to say a big thank you to Stuart who has been volunteering while on his placement from university. Today was his last day with us and it has been really great to work with him. We wish him all the best with his studies and look forward to seeing his dissertation based on his time with us. You can always come back and volunteer again Stuart, you know where we are!
Right then, ‘til tomorrow, gnite.