Austria, Bats, Owlets - May 2019 Newsletter

       

 

EcoSolutions welcomes 10 new Barn Owlets to the Owl Box Project.

In the past week, we have had 2 newly occupied Barn Owl (Tyto alba) boxes – one in Kempton Park at the Eastlands Mature Lifestyle Estate and the second in Menlo Park, Pretoria. Each owl box produced a clutch of 5 gorgeous Barn Owlets! 

Our Occupied Owl Box map is now updated – feel free to click here to view it.

 

We are in the height of Barn Owl breeding season. If you have a Barn Owl box and it has been serviced in the past year, please keep an eye on it and let us know as soon as there are any signs of owl activity. If your owl box hasn’t been serviced in the past year, please reply to our newsletter or book your service through our shop here. The service fee is R640.00. 
If you are unsure why your box needs a service, please have a look at our 'Still Empty?' page here.

 
We currently have over 100 serviced, managed and occupied owl box in Gauteng alone! Join us? 
 
Alexandra Township kids showcase their owl project to kids in Europe.

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

 

This is a fairly well-known quote by Nelson Mandela. Children from under privileged social backgrounds deserve and have a right to an education.

 

Who would have thought that a school in Alexandra Township would enlighten children in Austria about owls in Africa? In March, owlproject.org made this happen.

 

School children from Marlboro Gardens Combined School in Alexandra Township have been part of owlproject.org's educational programme for over 15 years and on March 15th 2019, in collaboration with the Wildnis Durrenstein in Austria, the kids from Alexandra gave an owl presentation and answered questions about owlproject.org and their involvement with this initiative. A Skype call was arranged between the 2 schools and it lasted nearly 2 hours! 

The main aim for the Skype call was for the children in Marlboro Gardens to introduce the Austrian children to our 12 South African owl species. During presentation, the Marlboro kids also shared the names that they have chosen for the owl species in Sotho. 

 

We have mentioned the Owl Naming Project in our previous newsletters but here is a quick reminder: Many children are brought up to think that all owl species have the same name. "Isikhova" in isiZulu is used to describe a Giant Eagle Owl (Bubo lacteus) as well as the tiny Pearl Spotted Owl (Glaucidium perlatum).

 

The Owl Naming Project focusses on giving common names to each of our 12 owl species using the nine South African indigenous languages. The project is undertaken nationally and involves several high schools from all over the country.

 

Please visit owlproject.org's website here with their latest progress on the Owl Naming Project. It was a beautiful morning and we plan to involve more schools as part of an international educational programme with owlproject.org. In addition to the Skype call, both schools created gifts for each other. The learners at Marlboro Gardens made and coloured in 300 origami owls with messages for the learners in Austria. In return, learners from Austria did something similar and created little booklets about themselves for the learners in Marlboro Gardens.

Owlproject.org has been very busy this year with owl releases, pellet dissections, the art project and responding to owl related calls received from townships. You can keep up to date with owlproject.org's stories through their blog here.

 

Owlproject.org is an NPO and doesn’t receive any government funding. We, at EcoSolutions, love this project and help where we can. 

If you enjoy these stories and would like to support the work that owlproject.org does country wide, simply click here to make your donation.

 
Spotted Eagle Owl breeding season is upon us!
 

As most of you have already noticed, we are fast approaching the chilly winter months. This is a time when animals either find suitable sites to hibernate, migrate to warmer climates or brace themselves for the cold season. 

 

As we know, winter also brings the Winter Solstice, which for most of us is a glorious sign that we are halfway through winter. However, for Spotted Eagle Owls (Bubo africanus), it is the beginning of something very exciting.

The shortest day is significant for Spotted Eagle Owls as the change in the photoperiod is the hormonal trigger that "kicks" them into breeding condition. This is what they have been waiting for all year. It heralds new life, food exchanges, solicitation, copulation and - you guessed it ... baby owls!

The breeding season for these owls usually runs until December in the Southern Hemisphere. Spotted Eagle Owls have an average clutch size of between two to four eggs which are laid a day or two apart.

On a quiet evening, you can listen out for Eagle Owls with their musical hoot. The male calls with two hoots “hoo-hoo”, and the female answers with three melodious hoots “hoo-hoohoo”.

 

With over 100 EcoSolutions occupied owl boxes in Gauteng, we believe the key component to this unique urban Owl Box Project is the annual service. To view our interactive occupied owl box map, please click here.

 

Contact EcoSolutions and let’s get your owl box ready for baby owls!

 

Click here to book your annual owl box service. You are also welcome to reply to this newsletter.
Click here for what the service entails.
Click here for why your owl box requires an annual service.

 

EcoSolutions in Botswana.
EcoSolutions is growing! We are thrilled to be extending our footprint throughout our African continent. So far, we have done work in Djbouti, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana. 
 
Team Bat are currently in Botswana at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST). A colony of nearly a 1 000 Mops midas (Midas free-tailed) bats have been roosting in the admin buildings and most of the campus houses at BIUST.
The team have set up camp – literally – to exclude the bats from the buildings and provide them with alternative roosting sites in the form of Bat Banks. This will allow them to continue to do what they do best – hunt insects. 
 

We will keep you posted on all of our international projects.

 
We hope that you enjoyed our newsletter. Please feel free to share it with your like-minded family and friends. Until our next newsletter in August, stay warm, happy and safe. 
 

 

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Reviews

Karen Stander
Our box have a spotted eagle owl! We stay on a smallholding in the Chancliff area, Krugersdorp and discovered that our recently serviced owl box, has a long awaited inhabitant! So glad and thankful to have the privilege of sharing our piece of nature with hopefully a breading pair soon! Have to tell you the bats are also happily occupying their box!

Cheryl Siewierski
Brilliant service from hugely knowledgeable installers at our home in Harties this morning. We are thrilled with our new bat and owl boxes and sure the residents of these will be too! Excellent to know that EcoSolutions also monitors numbers and patterns of the owls in perpetuity. Thank you!

Beryl Scott-Payet
Fantastic, thanks to all at Eco Solutions for your support and help with Strix (our injured owl) and the installations of the boxes and houses at Steyn City.

 

Owl Ring Recoveries


 

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