Whisper’s first photo
I never knew how bizarre looking young Barn Owls were until this 19 day owlet arrived in June. She had massive feet, an almost bald head and screeched the entire time she was awake – anyone who knows how much a young seagull can keep up their high pitched call will appreciate how annoying this can get. Whisper seemed to be an ironic name for her at this point. She weighed just over 5 ounces and had already cast her first pellet so we fed her on cut up chicks – but no head or feet!
Whisper quickly put on weight and by the beginning of July had reached the dandelion or puff ball stage – still just as loud and still really hungry, weighing over 12 ounces by the time she was 8 weeks old.
Whisper 4 weeks old
The transformation into her Barn Owl true feathers gradually happened over the next couple of weeks and she loved exploring, hopping around the kitchen and pouncing on the dog’s bed. As the owlets would try to pounce on Blue we had to make sure he was out of the way when they were free to roam – he is quite a happy dog.
She got her balance pouncing and playing around, always near by. Always keen to feed and follows my hand eagerly for food so I can’t wait for her to grow her flight feathers and be brave enough to fly to me!
Whisper helping dry
Whisper’s new home
She is now 15 weeks old and lives in her aviary. I fly her every day and she is learning really quickly, but I do miss having her play in the kitchen! Really funny when she jumped in Blue’s food bowl!! watch this!
As the heat of the summer chills into autumn the two oldest owls of the pack are coming out of their drowsy siestas and taking a bit more interest in their surroundings.
Actually what is the collective known for a group of owls? A hoot of owls maybe?? Or a hush…or a swoop or a flutter? It is a cast of hawks….a funeral of crows, and my all time favorite collective noun is a kaleidoscope of butterflies!
Victor as I named him, is a wonderful 5 year old African Spotted Owl.
Previously he lived very happily at the North Somerset Bird of Prey Center with his lovely mate of several years. Each year they would carefully build a nest and lay their clutch of eggs – however they never managed to hatch a single one, and earlier this year the female quietly passed away while sitting on their latest brood. It was decided that Victor would benefit from a change of scene and I was very happy to give him a new home here in Cornwall.
Victor has not yet flown to me, but he is very happy to sit and watch the world go by as I sketch him. He makes a great still life model!
Victor the model
My other ‘semi- retired gentleman’ is BB King, a stunning Eurasian Eagle Owl – the largest of all owl species in fact.
For I am BB King
He needed a new home as his owner wanted to retire himself and, like Victor, had also never been flown to the glove or actually stood on a glove at all. He came to me in May this year, the month the singer BB King died. As his Latin name is Bubo Bubo and he is the largest of all species the name just had to be BB King!
BB has settled in well, is about 4 years old, very chilled and also a great model for sketching. The top photo was taken just this weekend and was the first time he had sat on that post – he totally loved it and sulked when I had to put him back in his aviary!