Sunday, 23 May 2010

Warm Weather

Well, I suppose everyone is aware it has been really hot. We have made sure all the birds have access to baths and fresh water all the time. The main problem with the heat are the flies, bluebottles in particular. We have to be super effective when cleaning out, the little blighters can detect the smallest amount of food. Before you know where you are, you have maggots. Touch-wood, we are always on top of the cleaning, I can't remember the last time any unwelcome little guests were found in any of the bird accommodation.

Orla always enjoys a bath. She was like a little kid the other day. She would stand on the grass, jump in the bath, run through, and jump out the other side. When she is serious, she washes her rear end first, then each shoulder, ducking her head in between times. The water ends up everywhere. She has taken to gardening, spiking the grass with her talons.

Teigan is still the same. I keep checking her closely every day.

We had a reasonable weekend, could have been busier. I suspect everyone was out at the loch side, enjoying picnics and barbeques. Here's hoping for a busy bank holiday weekend.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Here we go again !!

If any of you saw our spot on STV's "The Hour", you will remember the focus was on the illegal killing of Birds of Prey. In the last week alone, there appears to have been two major poisoning incidents. If you follow this link, you will read more. Bird of Prey Killings .

It sickens me that the ignorant and uneducated in this country give themselves the right to play God over other occupants of the world we live in. The infamous RSPB don't seem to be able to do anything about it, the police forces seem to pay it lip service, and the public in general, are not aware what goes on. Don't get me wrong, the wardens and men and women on the front line of the RSPB are dedicated and hard working. The heirarchy on the other hand, seem only intent on walking the politically correct path. The organisation may not be toothless yet, however the teeth are definitely well worn. It seems more and more members are losing heart and deserting. Instead of advocating the benefits of building wind farms to slaughter large birds of prey, they should focus on the reasons they were conceived, and get back to basics.

We had our "Visit Scotland" audit today. It seems to have gone ok, we will soon find out when the report comes in. It is interesting that we can never be more than a three star visitor attraction, this is due to "no cafeteria", and "no public toilets". However, a large establishment like Blair Drummond Safari Park, is only a three star visitor attraction. We must be doing something right.

Teigan, the Indian Eagle Owl is still alert and active, however, the mass in her abdomen appears larger. I check her every day, to make sure she is not suffering. I just hope I know her well enough to recognise when to stop her suffering.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Not a good day

Teigan, our female Indian Eagle Owl, was sitting on her knees this morning. Not content, I lifted her and gave her the "once over". Her brood patch is bald anyway, but there was something else there, small lumps and what looked like a swollen abdomen. I made an appointment with the vet and took her in this afternoon. Sad to say, the lumps are tumours, and there is a mass in her stomach. Devastating is not the word. The advice from the vet is to let her be just now, she seems bright enough otherwise. We have to watch her closely, any sign of distress, I will take her in for the inevitable conclusion. We have no idea how long she has, it could be months. It is not a period I am looking forward to.

Small problem in comparison. A poor day with visitors, and to cap it all, we were passed a fake £20 note, Bank of England. Not a lot of money I know, half of the days takings though. So, a trip to the police station after we closed, they will send the note to the Met. in London for further investigation. I must get one of those pens.

Monday, 3 May 2010

A busy day

Bank Holiday Monday, I could do with them every day. Today was our busiest day ever for visitors. By comparison to other larger Bird of Prey & Falconry Centres, our expectations are fairly modest, I hope today was an indicator of how the rest of the year will be. I attended a Youth Project in Helensburgh, over 200 kids registered, a busy little afternoon. The show of Owls went down well, Mozart being the star of the show, again.

On Saturday we were at Neilston Agricultural Show. It is always good to go back to a venue and get feedback. We saw a lot of people who attended last year and wanted to come to the show to see the birds again. The weather was disappointing, windy, cold, and occassional showers. It was a busy day though, with crowds at our display most of the day. Orla dropped a primary feather from her left wing, adjacent to the feather she lost in October (which is growing in), so she has a gap.

There are feathers everywhere. Moulting is well under way. I might get lucky and manage to keep Coco flying. It seems that he draws the short straw every year, Rolf being the lucky one who gets to moult at the normal time. Coco will have to wait until August again.

Not long now until we release the wild Buzzards. If the weather and food supply keep improving, they should go in the next few weeks.