Saturday, March 03, 2018

Øygarden 02 March 2018 - Who you gonna call?

Cracking weather for humans, less so for Water Rail vannrikse, Snipe enkeltbekkasin and Woodcock rugde - all species seen today but relegated to "also ransby events later in the day.

I picked up quite a few of the usual species during shops, ice-skating and a walk at Hjelme Vest. I had just got out of the car to start some real birding when I received a call about an Eagle Owl hubro that was entangled in an electric fence.

One of the nice things about being known as the "birdman" out here is that I am called about all kinds of things related to birds (a Gannet wandering around a garden after a storm, a Merlin that has flown into a window etc etc). Today's call meant that I immediately returned to my car and sped off to assist.

Mobile phone shot immediately after disentanglement

Having freed the bird  (with plenty of assistance) I attempted to release it but it just crash landed in a very undignified manner. So it got the cardboard box treatment for a couple of hours during which it perked up considerably and also did an amazingly smelly poop. I have been crapped on by a huge variety of seabirds - ranging from Gannet, all of the auks, Wilson's Petrel and more and NONE have smelt anything like as bad as this Eagle Owl did.

Assessing damage and wing pattern (to find out more about age) 

Preparing for release

Just before crash landing....
Above four pictures: Roald Hatten

The bird seemed very healthy and not in the least malnourished - a fact confirmed by it's weight. This adult looking bird weighed in at over 2kg and thus probably a male (something also indicated by wing length). A ringer from Bergen headed out as soon as I told him what was going on and his arrival coincided with the bird really perking up. Despite an injury to to one wing, it had a good go at taking off so we felt we should give releasing it a second go. Although the bird flew much better than it did immediately after freeing it from the fence it did not manage to get far and was easily recaptured, it was therefore  sent off for a visit to the vets and further care.

The first Woodpigeon ringdue of the year put in an appearance in the garden during the afternoon.

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