‘Flight School’ resumed today at the Scottish Owl Centre. After a day off would Prince the Ashy Faced Owl perform as well as his first two days of training?
I started out day 3 with a walkabout. I really want to spend a lot of time with the Milky Eagle Owl and see if she will be receptive to training. She is a beautiful looking bird and very even tempered. I’m really impressed with how well she is taking her adventures into the big wide world – of Polkemmet Country Park at least!
It was a quieter day today with less public around the park. While this was a bit of a shame as I want the owl to get used to meeting people, the positive side of the lack of people was that I could take the bird further around the park and get her acquainted with the surroundings more. We visited the playground, then down to the river Almond, then back around the car parks toward Reception again. There was one brief encounter with a loose dog, but the dog didn’t see the owl and was more interested in the ball being thrown for it. The owl tensed up as we watched a pair of golfers pass by with their golf buggies but she didn’t try to fly or get away. I have great hope for us ‘desensitising’ her from her fear of things on wheels this year. Once her weight drops enough to be interested in my offers of food on the glove, I will try her loose in the indoor display arena I think.
Back in the arena, Prince performed even better than his last time there. Today he flew over a dozen times and almost the full length of the room. He flew for small pieces of food, bigger pieces of food, from one end of the arena to the middle, or middle to either side, post to post or post to glove. Very good indeed! All we need to do is keep up at this level and build up his strength and we will have our first bird ready for public displays.
After Prince I brought Kenya the White Faced Owl out of her aviary and through the doors into the display area. She has been through a couple of times when we have done walkabouts, but this was the first time she had seen the building completely roofed and with doors closed. She sat on the perch and stayed put, eyes as big as saucers. I couldn’t get her attention with a piece of food – she is well over her flying weight anyway – so I gently stepped her back onto my glove and returned her to her aviary, where she suddenly found her appetite enough to pounce on a treat I threw in for her! Not a bad experience with her for her first time free in the big room. It is a big room indeed when you are a small owl like Kenya! I’ll try this procedure again a few times this week hopefully, and I’m sure she will get used to the idea of flying there.
The rest of my day was spent taking delivery of boxes of frozen food for the owls – the delivery man was a bit shocked when he realised what he had been carrying into the building! – and speaking with the contractors that the Council have employed to cut some trees down in the park. Hopefully they will find some nice sections of tree trunk with branches just right for the next set of aviaries to be built in the centre.
Quite a productive day again.
Til the next one, gnite!