By Paul Hackney
This is often the relaxing and informative tale of the author's good fortune in restoring this gorgeous poultry to parts of the rustic the place its numbers had catastrophically declined.
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Additional resources for Growing barn owls in my garden
I watched impatiently as the stalemate continued, the prey munching muesli whilst two predators dithered on the sidelines: a case of clueless owls meet gormless mouse. Uncertain about how long to let this strange situation continue, I began to speculate on what I might have to do to teach the owlets how to hunt, such as dragging dead food items on a string across the aviary floor, as if I were teasing a cat. What I hadn’t reckoned with was that others were also getting impatient with the stand-off.
According to the accompanying text, ‘Winkie likes his bath by the fire’ and was clearly hopelessly tame. A number of years later, I would discover how easy it might be to obtain a ‘Winkie’ of my own. By now an undergraduate at Manchester University, I had soon discovered how much free time law students were allowed each week, theoretically to devote to private study. One day, having turned up for and endured the required one-hour lecture, I decided to enjoy the rest of that sunny afternoon by walking back to my room in a hall of residence, rather than catching a bus.
Most impressive of all, perhaps, is the decoration on the fan: a subtle background of gold, grey-blue and white, barred with darker markings that create several irregular horizontal lines, studded at random with small, tear drop-shaped flecks of black on white. Two other features struck me from these careful examinations: 21 Growing Barn Owls in my Garden 22 the stubbiness of the bird’s tail compared with its total body length, and the large size of its head, although I soon found, from gentle probing with my fingers, that this was mostly made up, along with the facial disc, of very dense feathering rather than bone.