Parliament goes wild for release

If you are willing to believe a quick Google search, there are at least four collective nouns to describe a group of owls.

Friday, 7th September 2018, 12:51 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th September 2018, 12:55 pm
Owl on swing

So depending on which one we choose, we can now say that the trust’s very own ‘parliament’, ‘wisdom’, ‘study’ or even ‘stare’ of owls has now been set free.

For many of them, it’s a return to the area they originally came from as fluffy little owlets.

The lovely people who brought them in back in the spring have returned to collect them and release them where they were found, in places such as Duns, Coldingham, Tillmouth Park and Wandy Law.

One man, Sandy Moor of Foulden, popped by to bring back the pet carrier he’d taken his owl away in the previous evening, and he showed us pictures of the release.

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Sandy said: “When we opened the lid the owl seemed confused at first by the wide open space and just sat there. Then he spread his wings and took off, circling over the woods. There’s lots of undergrowth around there so he’ll have plenty to eat.”

I’ll particularly miss the three that have been in our new Longridge indoor aviary for a few weeks.

Two of them were siblings, and most mornings they could be seen perched very close together, gently grooming one-another’s heads and necks, or squabbling noisily about who got the best spot on the perch.

The third little owl in that group never uttered a single sound and much preferred sitting by herself, watching the humans as they went about their business.

I think the only one who will be glad of the owls’ departure will be Errol, our resident tawny ‘mascot’.

We strongly suspect that although he couldn’t see any of the other birds from his custom-built personal aviary, he could certainly hear them, and didn’t take too kindly to some ‘tawny-come-lately’ muscling in on his territory.

The rest of us are very grateful to all those who sponsored our ‘parliament’ of owls, helping to pay for the huge number of mice and chicks needed to feed them.

Things are not looking so good for the short-eared owl with the broken wing. He’s alert and eating, but he will be going to the vet’s soon to have that broken wing looked at.

It was bad news, too, about a young crow my partner Colin found while out running at the weekend.

Unable to fly and extremely weak, we took him to Kay at the Rollo Centre and she checked him over. He was painfully thin, and a rattling, gurgling cough confirmed he was suffering from a severe lungworm infection. Despite receiving treatment for the lungworm, sadly he didn’t pull through.

Going back to collective nouns, this autumn is already shaping up for us having an ‘array’, a ‘prickle’ or a ’nest’ of hedgehogs, with no fewer than 16 now resident in the recovery room.

I knew I’d spoken too soon when I said things had quietened down.