Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Teeny gets a mention 18 Jan

Last night we presented a talk on 'our' owls for a local bird club. The response was fabulous, and the talk well attended. For us, the best part was updating those that hadn't heard the details of the 2010 breeding season, with our three little chicks - Indie, Jelanie and Teeny.

Everyone was upset when they heard about Teeny and the mites. Collectively, the audience winced and expressed horror. And again, collectively they all breathed a sigh of relief and smiled when we recounted Teeny's triumphant return.

It was wonderful re-living the Jeli, Indie and Teeny moments - the shoe, the owl box, the adventurous spirits...

No sign of Ratty on our return home. I suspect Ratty is sitting cozy in a spot outside, thinking how clever it is. Let's hope Ratty has nine lives once the owls come back.

New frequent visitor - Tues 18 Jan

With the owls gone, we've settled back down into an uncomplicated (but certainly less entertaining) routine. At least this was the case until a few days ago, when we received a rather unusual visitor.

It was late afternoon and we were sitting outside in the garden, enjoying the last rays of sunshine. Doors and windows were left wide open because temperatures had been soaring for days. I went inside to the dining room and as I got close to the window, the curtains rustled. I pulled the curtain back, and guess what had made its way into our home? A big brown rat! It looked up at me, then scurried away, hiding under a pot plant. It took a few minutes of 'broom-dancing' with Ratty before we got it out the front door.

The next night, I was closing up the house downstairs and Allan was upstairs in the bedroom. We had left the balcony door open - one of the few things we really miss being able to do when the owls are around. Suddenly Allan called to me "We have a visitor". I rushed upstairs to find Ratty again - this time under my bed. More broom-dancing with Ratty took place, before we eventually got Ratty to walk out (not run for its life like I thought a sensible rat being confronted by a threatening human with a broomstick would do).

Two nights later, again just before going to bed, I went into our office and heard the pitter patter of tiny feet running on the carpet. I didn't even have to switch on the light to know who it was.

On Ratty's last visit, I had a good talk with him / her while I was sending Ratty back outdoors. I politely explained to Ratty that I live inside and he / she lives outside - along with all its family members. I told Ratty that while it may think it should 'make hay while the sun shines' and the owls are gone, it is not a good idea to set up camp anywhere near our house.
"In another month or two, Pot Plant Owl and Pappa will be back, and then what will you do, Ratty?" I questioned.
Ratty didn't answer of course, but by the look on its face, I don't think it is particularly worried.
My bets are on PPO and Pappa winning this.

As much as I like(?) Ratty, I don't want it in our home, so have now had to resort to putting screening up to cover open windows and doors. So far, so good - although this Ratty is quite the lateral thinker and may just have a few more visits planned yet.

Sigh! Is this really the home for 'all creatures'?

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 New Year Greeting

Happy New Year and all the best for 2011!

We're finally back in the office after a good break for the holidays. It feels tiring getting through the first day back at work after a break, but one soons get back into the swing of things.

I've been receiving emails from overseas followers of PPO asking if we have seen the owls over the festive season. Late Christmas Eve, I received a distressing phone call from a concerned neighbour. Someone had found an injured owl chick just outside our complex, and rushed the chick off to FreeMe Wildlife Rehab Centre (where Teeny went). The chick was just admitted in before 5pm close.

We tried phoning on Christmas Day to find out more, but got no answer. Eventually we came right the following day, only to be told that the chick was so badly injured that it had to be put down.

I was heart broken at hearing that news! Worse still, we hadn't seen our owl family for a few days so didn't know where any of them were.

A few days went by with both Allan and I moping around the house during the day, and at nightfall, going outside to look for the owls. Finally, the day before New Year, we heard Pappa hooting and Pot Plant Owl replying. We rushed out the house and saw the two parents sitting on a rooftop in the distance. No sooner had we spotted them, we saw not one, not two, but three chicks fly in and land on the roof with their parents. OUR FAMILY HAD SURVIVED!

While it is still very sad to learn about the death of the other chick, I am incredibly relieved that it was not one of 'our' chicks. Since that evening, we have not seen the owl family again, although I'm sure they are fine.

As I write this entry, our resident Crested Barbet is sitting in the owl nest. He has taken to visiting the nest frequently and appears to be scratching in and around the nest. Who knows! Perhaps we will welcome a Crested Barbet family here soon.

All the best!