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By Paul Hackney

This is often the relaxing and informative tale of the author's good fortune in restoring this gorgeous chicken to parts of the rustic the place its numbers had catastrophically declined.

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A 20-year tale of profitable barn owl conservation. Has an informative and exciting tale of 1 of Britain's such a lot iconic birds, consisting of conservation tools that may be of general Read more...

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Extra resources for Growing barn owls in my garden

Sample text

I’d discounted an attempt at what the reference books called ‘direct visual inspection of the cloacal anatomy’, as used for poultry. I wouldn’t have known what I was looking at. Nor did I want to submit the birds to surgical sexing by the vet, a complex-sounding procedure involving anaesthesia and laparoscopy to facilitate a ‘quick inspection of the gonads’. For a variety of reasons – squeamishness being the main one – I opted instead for the gentler, non-invasive technique shown to me by Jane and Teddy.

I imagined the shock she would have given someone if she’d been released and tried such tricks in the wild. There was no doubt that she would soon have been hurt, or even killed. In effect, the bird was an emotional cripple, and although I was fascinated to have such close contact with a gorgeous creature, I was also intensely saddened by her deeply unnatural behaviour. It was as depressing as watching an elephant perform in a circus ring. Though thoroughly habituated to man, my new charge was certainly not acclimatised to the weather.

I dismissed the apparition from my mind. By now, the sun had disappeared completely from the sky and the whole scene was bathed in a ghostly half-light. Praying that there would be no disturbances, such as the sudden emergence of my neighbours and their boisterous dog into their garden, I decided to watch for only a little longer. Just as I was about to give up in total frustration, I spotted two strange forms moving out from the shadows and into view on the platform, like a pair of actors arriving on stage from the wings.

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