Owls In Danger This Christmas From Spring Freeze

barn owl

Alan Partridge urges the nation to adopt Owls over Donkeys this Christmas season to stop rapid decline in breeding

The Suffolk Owl Sanctuary has confirmed that the March freeze earlier this year reduced breeding in Barn Owls & Tawny Owls by as much as 80%, and warned that any severe weather conditions to come will only worsen their numbers. Upon finding out the news, owl enthusiast Alan Partridge has urged that the UK should embrace owls for Christmas this season over the popular Christmas Donkey:

Owls need our help but not when it comes to revolving their heads through 180 degrees. How many of us would like to do that especially when someone is trying to read the Daily Mail (which they haven’t paid for) over your shoulder. An owl could just turn its head around look the read-thief square in the eye and say, ‘do you mind?!’…if they could speak…or read. The life of an Owl isn’t always the same as the sound it makes, i.e. A hoot. So please help Owls. Adopt an owl, donkeys have had a monopoly on adoption too long and whilst an owl can’t give you a ride along the beach (that would be weird) it does make a more haunting sound than a donkey whose braying can get on your nerves. Don’t worry adopting an owl doesn’t mean it has to spend Xmas dinner with you although I would prefer talking to an owl than some of the relatives I have to spend Xmas with. In all seriousness though meddling with birds of prey is illegal. I know Billy Caspar from Kes had a kestrel but he was a lonely bullied boy in 60s Sheffield and you are not. So please put your hand in your pocket then pull it out again with some money attached and this winter help our precious owls to wit…t’woo.

Alan Partridge, Norfolk (next to Suffolk)”

The Suffolk Owl Sanctuary hopes that Alan, along with the rest of the UK, can Adopt-an-owl to help fund the development of their Nest Box Project which provides secure breeding habitat for wild owls, and their Raptor Hospital & recuperation facilities for injured wild owls & other birds of prey which the public bring in to them. Andy Hulme, Manager of the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary said:

“2013 has been a terrible year for both Tawny and Barn Owls. 

Tawny Owls are the first to breed each year but 2013 was a failure due to the extreme weather conditions in March, the start of their breeding season.

This is because the adult birds were unable to maintain the body weight they needed – for females to be able to produce eggs, and for males to be fit enough to hunt and provide sufficient food for both parents and newly-arrived progeny. Across the scope of our own wild owl nest box project in Suffolk, we saw a decline of almost 100% Tawny Owlets compared to 2012.

The Barn Owls that survived the awful weather in March 2013 bred much later than usual this year, and here – in comparison to 2012 – we recorded a huge decline of nearly 80 % of young Owlets compared to 2012. 

baby barn owlFurther, in September we also experienced a small number of young Barn Owls found abandoned by the parent birds. This is because the adults needed to moult (drop their feathers and grow new ones) before winter sets in. Normally the young owlets would themselves have fledged and left the nest by this time.

Adopting an Owl will make a big difference to help maintain our raptor hospital and recuperation facilities, and fund the further development of our wild owl nest box project.” 

As reported in the national press last week, Britain could receive screaming gales and up to 12 inches of snow in December. These predicated conditions will be the worst to hit Britain since 1947, likely to bring the UK to a grinding halt, and affecting not only ourselves but our environment too. Government have extended severe weather warning for across the country, urging people to monitor their situation from the Met Office website in order to see how the weather will affect your travel plans.

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, is out to own from 2nd December on DVD and Blu-Ray. If you’re interested in an owl adoption pack, you can do so by signing up here: http://www.owl-help.org.uk/page2/page2.html



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