For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Have a look at this!! Barn Owl

 On Saturday afternoon I received a phone call from someone who said that he had caught an owl in a warehouse and it was having a problem flying, did I want it. Naturally I said yes and he brought it over very early on Sunday morning. The poor little thing was very frightened but I checked him out and could not see anything broken so decided that he was just too young. I went out and found a large cage for him and got some mice, crickets and ground beef to feed him.
He lay very passively in my hand and allowed me to stroke his feathers which are extremely soft. By the evening, he had not eaten any of the mice which were crawling around, but it did look as if he had eaten some of the beef.
Early Monday morning, I received another phone call from the same young man saying he had caught another one and should he bring it over. I said yes again, but when it arrived here I could see it was extremely sick. The young man told me that he thinks someone had put out rat poison and that the owls had eaten them. I do not expect the second one to live, but who knows, maybe he will make it. I certainly hope so. I wonder if people realize how much they affect other creatures in the food chain when they do something like this? The first one should be big enough to fly properly in about 2 weeks time, then I will take him back to that area and let him go. You cannot see it in this image, but although the one eye was closed, he was watching me with the other. Enlarge the last picture and have a look at those talons.
IfI stand near his cage, he will hiss and move his body from side to side in a threatening position with his wingsraised to make him look bigger.

Update: It is now Wednesday morning and I am pleased to say the second owl which I did not think will make it has fully recovered, eating well and very active. I will continue to feed him until Saturday and then release him.


Anonymous said...

Those are really "pie-faced" looking birds, aren't they? LOL. Quite lovely still and mysterious too. Those are some really good photos of the Owls there Joan, it is good they both recovered and are doing well. : )

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Ken. Sorry but I only noticed this comment now. As you know I am up to my eyeballs in work so I have not had time to go through all of these.

It was one of the most wonderful feelings on earth to see them fly away when I let them go. I guess you could say I did my little bit for nature there. Giving back a bit of what I get from it.

Diane said...

These pictures are wonderful Joan, I am so glad you gave me the link. Hav you seen
It is an amazing story and I have been watching this since the first owl hatched.Diane

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Sorry Diane, I did not see your comment until now as I so seldom get chance to go back and check on them.

This was a wonderful experience for me and I am so grateful they managed to fly free again.