The Boys from the Grey Stuff




Dean, Andy & Matt - The Boys from The Grey Stuff...


Never A Dull Moment


At S.O.S. the bulk of our falconer’s time is spent on raptor related activities - feeding round, aviary cleaning, general husbandry, exercising the birds or flying them in displays, looking after the injured owls and other birds of prey which arrive on our doorstep (perhaps necessitating an emergency dash to the vet) or maintaining our network of owl nest-boxes in the wild. However, there are also plenty of other things to keep our hard-working staff occupied and never a dull moment as the team work to update and improve the facilities for birds, visitors and staff alike.

The current project is to replace the old falconer’s hut with a more efficient and up-to-date building which, core to our operations, includes the mews room where birds who spend their days in the weatherings spend the night safe and secure; the food preparation room and the general office. The old building is some 15 years old and getting a little dilapidated & cramped for our purposes, so now is an opportune time for replacement.


Hard at it! Our falconers and volunteer Pete prepare the way for a few tons of concrete.

When I arrived this morning the falconers, along with our multi-talented volunteer Pete, were hard at work laying a concrete base and hoping fervently that it has a chance to set off before we have any more rain. At this point we must also say a big thank you to another of our hard working volunteers, Kate, who undertook to clean out the night boxes and prepare a menu of raptor delicacies in the temporary accommodation provided, whilst the falconers were otherwise engaged!

More Grey Matter
At the beginning of the month the Sanctuary welcomed a new arrival, Napoleon the female Great Grey Owl. (Yes, Napoleon is a strange name for a lady, but like all birds of prey, she was difficult to sex, and the name has stuck, even though the gender was found to be different!) She has come to S.O.S on loan from Tropical Wings in Essex. Originally bred at the Welsh Mountain Zoo two years ago, she underwent a short period of compatibility acclimatisation for the first few days with us before moving in with her new aviary with prospective husband Taiga, our own two-year-old male. If all goes well we hope they may breed in one or, more probably, two years time.

Until then Taiga will continue to participate in the Summer Flying Demonstrations and Owl Experience Mornings. We will be publishing next year’s dates about these on our website in the near future.