The long Bank Holiday weekend, or almost a week really, has been quite a busy one at the Scottish Owl Centre. Numbers of visitors have been good and comments left in our visitors book have all been really complimentary about the centre and flying demonstrations.
As I’ve said in previous blog entries not everything can be positive and happy every day when working with animals. I’m sad to say that our elderly Long-eared Owl that we have been taking extra care of for the last couple of weeks passed away this morning. While she has been stable for the last few days her condition was not going to improve. The thought was that she had a stroke or tumour that led to loss of muscle control and mobility. We felt that the best option for her that would prevent suffering was for the vet to put her to sleep. The thing to remember is that she had lived a much longer life than if she were in the wild, maybe as much as a decade longer, and that she had the best quality of life that anyone could provide.
This is of course what we want for all of the birds in our care, a good long life in the best quality of life we can provide for them. Whilst aware of three or four of the owls with health conditions that we monitor, it is always a blessing that the vast majority of the collection is in fine health and clearly happy as we have so many either sitting on eggs or rearing offspring. Having a nearby veterinary surgery that we can call upon the services of at short notice is reassuring, but preventative rather than curative is always what we aim for.
On a day tinged with sadness at the passing of one of our collection there is also comfort to be found in caring for a new life. Our four week old American Barn Owl, tentatively named ‘Sam’ at the moment, grows daily and made his or her second appearance in a public ‘flying’ display today. It is too early to tell if the owlet is male or female. He or she is a sweet little thing, quite calm and curious about the world. The audience in the display were curious and amazed to see what a baby owl looks like too. Growing up in the public gaze and with multiple carers will help this little one become well accustomed to being around people, hopefully make it a happy and steady bird when it comes to being handled by staff and volunteers, and when flying in our displays.
American Barn Owls are beautiful birds. I have had the fortune to work with them before but never any trained for flying displays. I can’t help but wonder what our little one will look like when it has it’s full set of adult feathers!
Well that’s me done for this blog, time to sign off. Hopefully back on tomorrow, so see you then, gnite.