I was told today that yesterday was International Owl Awareness Day... I don't know how I missed that one, but thanks for letting me know, and apologies for not passing on the message any sooner.
Owls are one of those animals that really capture the imagination and enthusiasm. Even for those that are not keen on birds, quite often they will say they still like owls. Maybe it is their role in beloved children's stories, their history in folklore and myth or just that they look less feathery and have a more human like face compared to other birds.
It is debatable who you talk to, but many would consider Britain to have seven recognised owls living in these shores. We have all seven represented at the Centre in their nice new aviaries, and do a daily display with them in the afternoon.
Owls, as with much of our wildlife, need our help. Habitat loss, roads and starvation are arguably the biggest threats they face. A good start is to offer these owls with roosting areas... they are struggling to find their own nesting spots, so by putting up nest boxes in the right place it can encourage owls to roost. Another option is to provide the habitat for these owls, or for their prey, to encourage them to visit and offer them a hunting ground.
As many of you will be aware, we have created large nature reserve from redundant farmland which used to be grazing fields for our cows. here we have woodland, wetland, ponds and grassland areas in mosaic of habitats. Recently we have extended the reserve by a further ten acres, and over the course of the next year will be managing six acres of it to create a wildflower meadow!
We are lucky enough to have barn owls, tawny owls and little owls on our reserve. By creating this additional habitat it will hopefully attract in all sorts of wildlife, strengthening our owl population and maybe even attracting in more owls too.
To see how you can help support owls, have a look at the Owl Trust website.