Saturday February 13th 2010
We have managed to complete the structural repairs needed on the Brown Fish Owl aviary in the Main Display area, and have been able to move the birds back in. That is to say, we moved the male back in, but with a new female we acquired from another breeder. So, fingers crossed, seeing as we haven’t had much success with this species. Hopefully the fact that they have been ‘introduced’ during the Valentines weekend will mean that ‘love will find a way’, and that they will breed. The female ‘Ashy-faced Owl’ in the hospital has also been moved back into her aviary, where she has happily re-united with her partner.
As I am writing this, we are faced with the prospect of doing ‘Meet The Birds’ this afternoon, albeit only a static one, which is just as well, as collectively, the flying team is on a ‘diet for the fuller figure’, and ‘Mortimer’ the buzzard in particular, is generously endowed with ‘relaxed muscle’, and is therefore disinclined to move any more than is necessary.
The breeding collection is showing some signs that the breeding season is underway, as there are several species that appear to have started incubating eggs; The White-faced Scops Owls, the African Spotted Eagle Owls, the Brown Wood Owls, the Chaco Owls, and in the last couple of days; the Verreaux’s Eagle Owls. Some people say that because of global warming, everything is starting sooner and sooner, what with flowers blossoming, and birds laying their eggs earlier. The evidence is quite compelling. Some scientists claim that this is due to greenhouse gasses being pumped into the atmosphere by mankind, and that if we don’t curb these emissions, we are heading towards disaster. Some say that the earth is heating up anyway, and that there is nothing we can do about it. What is a fact however, is that the Earth has heated up and cooled down several times during the last ice age, and has done so without the help of modern travel and industry. In fact, we are technically still in an ‘Ice Age’ so long as there are ice caps on the Poles, and for an ice age to begin, it has to get colder, and for an ice age to end, which it inevitably will, it has to get warmer. Maybe we are in one of those natural cycles. Who really knows! Some people might say that because of this, what is the point of conservation anyway, as what is going to happen is inevitable, and there is no point in fighting it. Our point is that, if climatic change is coming, for a species to survive this, it has to ‘adapt’ to survive, but can only do this, if it has the opportunity. If we (mankind), continue to destroy habitats the way we do, we will deprive many species the opportunity to ‘adapt and survive’. I think we are morally obliged not to let that happen, regardless of the outcome.
Anyway, I’ll get of my ‘Soapbox’ now.
When working round the centre, quite often I will have a ‘wildlife encounter’. This week it has been a ‘Kestrel’. This is quite a cheeky little individual, and usually waits for feeding time, in case there is chance of stealing some food from under the noses of an unsuspecting owl or two. This character now sits on top of one of the aviaries in the ‘Breeding Ground’, just above the door. No more than 2 feet away, and looks at me askance, as if to say; ‘Don’t just stand there you idiot. Where's my food!’ I will then throw a ‘dead day old chick’ up to him, and he catches it in midair!
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