My father works in a limestone quarry, and they have this annual event where people are allowed to visit. They always host a lot of different events - from games for children to bus tours around the quarry to info booths about the conservation work they do. A pair of eagle owls nests there each year, and their quarry is also home to a lot of other rare animal species, and they do a lot to protect them. So obviously, they always have eagle owl Uwe there every year to teach people more about these animals! He’s six years old, hand-raised, and he’s been trained to be around a lot of people. They also always have at least one other bird, and this year Elvis the southern white-faced owl was accompanying him. She was so tiny and cute, and I was allowed to hold and pet both Uwe and Elvis!
I was also allowed to talk with my father’s boss, which is apparently a rare privilige, at least according to my father. He told me about the first time he saw one of the eagle owls in the quarry and how important conservation work is for him and he was very excited to hear that I study biology!
(Did you know that eagle owls can live up to 60 years??)
One of the trip highlights, currently on the Budget Eastern
South Africa Tour II, was viewing four species of owls in the Kruger National
Park in one day. Good views were had of Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Pearl-spotted
Owlet, a pair of Southern White-faced Owls and one Spotted Eagle-Owl on the
Sunset Drive near Pretoriuskop Rest Camp.
Photo - Southern White-faced Owl, photographed by Gareth Robbins