Spring is the season when the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary’s falconers are engaged in checking the condition of nest boxes and aviary accommodation which has afforded protection to members of our resident bird team from the elements throughout the harsh winter weather.
These are the birds variously used in displays, talks and school visits to inform the public about the diversity of owl and other bird of prey species and illustrate the differences, habits, habitats and conservation statuses of the various species.
Many boxes will need to be replaced to ensure effective protection is always available to the birds - some may just need augmentation with additional nesting material, to encourage some of the owls and other birds of prey to breed in the coming months.
Should progeny result during the season, these are usually exchanged between zoos and establishments similar to our own in order to the maintain breeding bloodlines.
Last week it was the turn of Bumble and Bea, the Ural owls to receive an upgrade to their facilities.
A new, spacious nest box was built by the falconers and erected in their aviary and Bea wasted no time in settling down inside. Close companions for many years, the pair have been known to raise young in the past, so it may transpire that a happy by product of the new nest box might be a successful breeding season for them.
Ural owls enjoy a wide distribution worldwide, from Japan and Korea in the east to Scandinavia in the west and throughout Europe and Asia.
Their preferred native habitat is open woodland and is more often found in moister areas - so ideally suited to the Suffolk climate. In the wild, the Ural owl seeks out hollow tree trunks and old raptor nests in which to lay between 2 and 4 eggs which are incubated for 27 - 34 days.
It is hoped that the warmth, seclusion and security offered by Bumble and Bea’s new nest box may imitate their naturally preferred nest sites to their added contentment!