Easter Eggs? Maybe Baby!

This week included what proved to be an exceptionally long day for two of the SOS staff and an attractive Bengal Eagle Owl.

Why? Because the staff started the day in East Anglia and the Owl started the day in Ashston-under-Lyme, near Manchester!

The private owner of the Bengal, no longer being in a position to give the bird the daily care and attention it needed, wanted it to go to a Centre where it could be taken care of properly. As a result we were contacted to see if there was any chance we could re-home the bird.

Now, as a rule we usually have to turn down requests of this nature because our main aim in life is the care, conservation and rehabilitation of the British native species in the wild.

But by coincidence, as readers of this blog may know we lost the male Bengal Eagle Owl from our display team earlier in the year due to old age. So when we discovered that the owl being offered was not only the right species and the right sex to provide companionship for our remaining female, Bagheera; and he was also the correct age for breeding - we took up the offer.

The owl in question is a three year old male Bengal Eagle Owl (alternatively known as an Indian or Rock Eagle Owl, originally the species is a native of the Indian sub-continent).  He will go under the formal name of Shere Khan, to complement the name of his new lady friend. In this way, both are named after two characters from the famous Jungle Book story by Rudyard Kipling, later made into a popular film by Disney.  However, he will affectionately be known as SOX, as that is the name he arrived with! (For more about Shere Khan & the Jungle Book stories, visit
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shere_Khan )

As you can see from the picture, SOX is a prime example of the species, with an imposing stature, characteristic honey colourings, a strong set of talons, visible ear tufts and those unmistakable orange irises (or irides for all you Countdown & Scrabble fans).

So together with my colleague Maz (now Mrs Maz, as she has just got married), I travelled all the way up to Manchester to collect SOX for his relocation to the scenic Suffolk countryside. It was a long and tiring journey by road, taking 10 hours in total for the round road trip. We set off well before first light in order to return the owl to its new home before dusk.

Altogether it was a 438 miles door-to-door journey, but despite it SOX arrived none the worse for wear. After a night’s rest, he was introduced to his new partner for the first time.  After a brief squabble - more often the case when new birds are introduced to each other - they have settled down together and we are hopeful that ‘family life’ may begin as quickly as possible.

But there are no guarantees! So for further news, keeping checking this blog and we will give you an update as soon as there is any news! With any luck, we may receive something slightly more exciting than a Cadbury’s Creme Eggs this Easter!