A wise man once said ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing’. From the wisdom of the Big Yin, thoroughly Scottish Billy Connoly, we certainly needed some good clothing in the last week. Storm force gales followed by snow then followed by yet more severe gales hit the centre and are still doing so.
My first thought in weather like this is whether the birds are okay, then are the aviaries ok too, has there been any damage? The morning after hurricane force winds hit the Scottish west coast, dissipating by they reached us but still ferocious, I expected more than just a bit of roofing felt to be lifted off a roof. We were lucky, and the aviaries are pretty solid.
This was the first real test of our newest aviaries, only occupied over Christmas. As you can see from the photo, birds like Altai the Siberian Eagle Owl sensibly make good use of the shelter area to keep away from the worst of the wind, rain and in this case, snow. The aviaries passed the test with flying colours.
The gales and blizzards hampered the construction work on the next aviaries but didn’t stop us completely. Unfortunately the foundation posts I spent the weekend digging and cementing in were in the wrong place, but hadn’t set anyway so were easy to pull out! Despite a bit of two-steps-forward and one-step-back, we finally began to put the structure of the new Burrowing Owl aviary together yesterday.
On the owly front, our recently arrived Barn Owls – one white and one black – have been doing fine despite their first week living in an outdoor aviary being in some of the roughest winter weather that Scotland could muster for them. They are very friendly so far, and we soon discovered that they are already pretty well trained to fly to the glove, they do it in their aviary even if you haven’t got any food with you! As an experiment we took them into the flying display arena to see how they’d respond. They flew to the glove for food pretty well. I don’t think it would take a lot of time or effort to train them up for displays. This would mean we can elaborate our talks about why colour is important for an owl. We might think that an albino or a melanistic creature is beautiful, but would it survive in nature? Come along to our shows this year and find out what we reckon ; )
See you next week, take care and wrap up warm!