Rugby tackled a barn owl to the floor last week, she rolled on her back, firing her claws at me, clicking her beak. I grabbed her ankles and pinned her wings to her sides, coming out of the encounter better than my volunteer Chris who had come a cropper with her mate and now had blood running down his hand.
Most boxes this year have been full of stock doves much to the dismay of one of our most colourful landowners who had watched in growing agitation as we carefully placed a ring around the chicks legs.
“I don’t want bally stock doves,” he protested. “Don’t ring its leg, ring its neck!”
That wasn’t about to happen, but the stock doves are a problem, seemingly evicting the owls and, like the worst squatters, re-decorating the interior of their homes with unsightly piles of twigs upon which no barn owl wants to sit.
The feisty owls we caught last week are sitting on three eggs, offering a little hope for the future.