It’s Sunday today and I have just welcomed two new volunteers who I hope will be helping us for some time to come. I then came back to the office to deal with all of our emails over the past few days. This “world wide web” bit means that we get requests for information from everywhere.
“Where is the best place to locate a Barn Owl Box”, “I think I have just seen an eagle, have you lost one?”, “I saw someone in the local shopping precinct with an owl…….is that legal?” , “I need some help, I am looking after Little Owls in New Zealand and I need some advice…….” WHAT…..?
I have some of the best distribution maps of owls ever and I have never seen a Little Owl in New Zealand. I wrote back immediately saying of course we can help but not too sure about the Athene noctua (Little Owl) bit. The trouble is that you can respond so quickly these days that you don’t allow yourself time to think. I had to apologize in a further email. I hope Bonnie will forgive me.
The Little Owl was introduced into New Zealand around 1908 and has become, as here in the UK, a permanent resident. Ouch….!!
Just as I was writing my apology the phone rang. We are now at 10.30pm on a Sunday night but, just in cases, it could be an injured owl. It wasn’t. It was a lady called Jane who was calling from Missouri in the USA to ask if she could keep an owl as a “pet” and how should she look after it.
Thankfully the US have better laws than us when it comes to keeping these fabulous birds. You have to sit a written test, if you pass you can then build your aviary which has to be inspected by the wildlife and fisheries guys and if you get past all of that, which takes about two years………..you may well be allowed to keep a bird of prey. I honestly don’t know if that applies in Missouri, each state has its own laws, but I sincerely hope that Jane, my new friend, believes me………!!
Sometimes it doesn’t do to get out of bed.