I got another quick sighting of Great Horned Owlet this morning. Just a quick glimpse again as the mother is very protective and wraps her wings around the young really quickly.
The weather was kind to us today, the forecast showers passing us by until late afternoon. When the rain showed up I was pleased for once, as it would help the grass and wild flower seed mix that I put into the bed in the Long-eared Owl aviary.
The flying display team came through again today. Our core team members put on a great show, and are being joined one by one by others as they graduate from their training. Today it was the turn of Prince the Ashy Faced Owl to make his debut in front of an audience. He did some shows back at the first site of the Scottish Owl Centre but in the months it has taken to relocate he has been more than a bit rusty. I’ve mentioned him many times in my blog and it’s great to see how far he has come in the last few months. He has been doing so well in his training this week that I decided today was the day. As we began the third show of the day I brought him into the arena and introduced him to the audience. I hadn’t really thought of a script for a talk about him or Ashy Faced Owls but it all came together as he flew around the perches. My talk explained about the rarity of the Ashy Faced Owl, how this came about, the conservation programme to protect them from extinction in the wild, and how consumer power can help drive sustainable agriculture. That may have been a bit heavy but seemed to get a good reaction. At least Prince was there to lighten the mood. He did really well, anticipating where he was supposed to fly to next without hesitation – or getting lost and landing in some random place bewildered. Okay he did that once but that’s okay for his first show! I think that both his flying and my talk will only get better with each display so Prince makes it to the daily shows from here.
Tiger the Brown Wood Owl raised some laughs in the show too, as she also landed in a random place – on a bench next to a little girl (who was amazed to be this close to an owl!). I made a joke out of it and sat a little further along the bench saying how it was tiring work flying around the arena, and Tiger wanted a rest. I put a piece of food on the bench for her and she pounced, showing natural hunting technique even if it was just to a piece of chicken on a wooden bench. Later, the little girl had her photo taken holding Tiger. A perfect memento to go with a wonderful experience.
So with Prince and Tiger providing the laughs I brought in Sarabi to deliver some majestic awe inspiring flights the length of the display arena. She is such an impressive bird in flight. She is getting really good at flying long and up high to the highest perch in the corner of the arena. I’m constantly amazed at how good she is and how consistently good she is.
Sarabi and Oulu (Great Grey Owl) are the largest of our team currently in the shows, but there are two others that we aim to bring in the shows soon. Hudson the Great Horned Owl and Broo the European Eagle Owl are going through their training but aren’t far off ‘graduation’ too. Broo made her first flight in the arena today, only without an audience. I was sure she would make at least some attempt to fly to a perch but was amazed when she went through her old routine with only a little hesitation. She isn’t quite at the right ‘hunting weight’ yet. Once her weight comes down a little more she will be whizzing around the arena. Today she was really spectacular as she flew around and between posts and perches. I’ve flown European Eagle Owls before but never seen one fly like this. I have a lot to learn when it comes to flying different types of owls and I’m clearly in the right place to learn.
So, I’d better sign off from this blog and get some sleep. I have more learning to do tomorrow.