Creating owl friendly children, who go on to be owl friendly adults, living within owl friendly environments.

 

Alexandra Taxi drivers give a hoot!

Date: 24 August 2018.

Location: Alexandra Township, Johannesburg, South Africa.

 

Alexandra taxis join the cause! 

 

Taxi drivers in Alexandra in conjunction with owlproject.org are spreading the word. If you see a taxi with our bumper sticker, send us a pic, including the number plate and your postal address and wait for your FREE Junior Scientist Kit to arrive in the post. The Junior Scientist Kit makes a great present for children and grandchildren between the ages 5- 13 years. 
To view the Junior Science Kit. Click here to visit the Ecosolution's Shopify.










 Owl Release at Radford House Primary School.

Date: 22 August 2018.

Location: Radford House Primary School, Randburg, South Africa.

What a beautiful sighting today!

Urban Ecology is a critical component of Owlproject.org and teaching children about owls is the most important pillar of the project. Every child deserves interaction with wildlife especially within the urban environments.

It was really great to see the excitement on the children's faces when they saw the Barn Owls (Tyto alba) being placed inside the release pen. They couldn't maintain their cool when the owls came out of the basket and flew around the release pen. Stay tuned for more updates on the release.

All the best from the Owlproject.org See you soon.










OWL RESCUE


Date: 21 August 2018.

Location: Kent Avenue, Randburg, Gauteng, South Africa.

In every case of emergency, at Owlproject.org, owls in distress calls are a priority and all other scheduled tasks are moved aside to help the owls in need. Owlproject.org was contacted by a concerned citizen in Kent Avenue in Randburg area in response to a Spotted Eagle Owl (Bubo africanus) which they noticed flying around the parking lot. Hussein Moyo managed to catch the owl swiftly with a net. 

The Spotted Eagle Owl didn't look good at all, the tongue had sores with swollen eye. He was severely emaciated with his bones clearly visible. We quickly put the owl inside a clean basket , covered the basket with a blanket to reduce stress and went straight to the Bryanston Avian, Exotic and Small Animal Clinic

The Spotted Eagle Owl was diagnosed with severe trichonomiasis. This is a disease which is caused by owls eating pigeons who carry this protozoan parasite.

Over time, the parasite covers the mouth and sinuses of the owl to the point where the owl is unable to eat and eventually can be seen sitting on the ground or commonly – in the bird bath – in desperate need of medical intervention. The Spotted Eagle Owls is currently on medication. We hope you get well buddy!










The Alexandra owl art evaluation day.


Date: 17 August 2018.

Location: Alexandra Township, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Owlproject.org visited three schools in Alexandra to continue with the owl mask project.

Carter Primary School is all set up and ready to throw a masquerade show at the Birdlife SA's Bird Fair this coming September. Iphutheng Primary School children waited in anticipation, to receive a bucket of oil pastels to start colouring their owl masks. The fascination and excitement on their faces was out of this world.

We assess the children's artwork accordingly and encourage them to use colours which go together and explore their creative imagination. The children explored their creative skills and colour combination on the masks, producing marvelous work of art. Creativity is everything, it portrays the sense of originality, authenticity and effort. Art should be inspirational and reflect oneself.

South Africa is known to be a "Rainbow Nation" and a cultural melting pot. it's really beautiful to watch such young people display their passion for art specially on owl masks and appreciation for these wonderful birds as well.

Every child was given an opportunity to name their owl mask as if they had it as a pet. We definitely can't wait to display the masks at the BirdFair to showcase the passion and the love these children have for the owls.










Kliptown Owl Release Programme.


Date: 16 August 2018.

Location: Kliptown Youth Programme, Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Kliptown Youth programme is found in Soweto township in Johannesburg, South Africa. The programme was developed by passionate young people from Kliptown to make a difference in their community.

Owlprojrect.org began it s collaboration with Kliptown Youth Programme in 2015 along with Riana Neven who kindly sponsored their Owl Release Programme, to tackle the rodent infestation within this area. Kliptown is a slum in South Africa, but full of passionate young people who are eager to learn and make a difference to their community and the country. 

Kliptown Youth Programme is identified as one of our owl release sites. This year, they participated in our Owl Release Programme again, which was fully sponsored by Riana Naven out of her personal capacity. Owlproject.org arrived at Kliptown Youth Programme to release two Barn Owls (Tyto alba) rescued  within the Soweto area. One Barn Owl was cared for by the Johannesburg Wildlife Vet due to femur fracture and the other Barn Owl was handed in to the Booysens SPCAOwlproject.org gave the children at the Kliptown Youth Programme an owl talk with the aim to create owl friendly children. It was aspiring to see their  excitement when they saw the Barn Owls and it was amazing to find out the children knew that owls feed on rats. Thank you Kliptown Youth Programme and Riana Naven for the wonderful opportunity you have given these children.

The two juvenile Barn Owls where ringed before they were placed inside the release box. We ring all the owls we receive from the SPCA's around Gauteng and other various institutes such as the Bryanston Vet, avian exotic and small animal clinic, Johannesburg zoo and the Johannesburg Wildlife Vet. Owls are ringed in order to keep record of the owls should we ever come across them. The information will be updated on the SAFring database for record keeping.










The Hills Game Reserve Estate.


Date: 10 August 2018.

Location: The Hills Estate Game Reserve, Pretoria South Africa.

The Hills Estate Game Reserve is a secure 480 hectare residential estate in Pretoria South Africa, which includes a Game Reserve with several species of antelopes and a community of owls such as the Spotted Eagle Owl ( Bubo africanus), Barn Owl(Tyto alba) and the Grass Owl (Tyto capensis).

Owlproject.org received a call from the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital about an injured owl rescued from The Hills Estate. The Owlproject.org team responded to the call and met with the Estate Manager, who found the Spotted Eagle Owl in one of their developing properties within the estate. The Manager took the Spotted Eagle Owl and placed it inside a box, for safety until Owlproject.org arrived to collect it. 

The Spotted Eagle Owl was taken to the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital in Midrand. Upon the arrival the, Spotted Eagle Owl was given a full physical examination. The Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital conducts an examination of all the owls handed in to assess whether admission is necessary. They checked the owl for fractures, open wounds or punctures. The Spotted Eagle Owl could not move or stand on its own and was diagnosed with spinal trauma. The vet rehydrated the owl and placed it in a secure, dark, quiet space to relieve it from stress and trauma.

Pre-Release.

After showing great improvement, The Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital placed the owl inside a large flight pen to monitor it's healing process and the owl's weight. Daily exercise is essential to ensure the owl is in good shape and able to lead itself back in the wild.

Owl release.

The owl now fully recovered and was ringed with a SAF-ring, then released back at The Hills Estates Game Reserve. The Spotted Eagle Owl was alert and could not wait to go back home. 

It is currently Spotted Eagle Owl breeding season and they are already looking for a suitable breeding sites to lay eggs and raise their young. The Hills Estate Game Reserve currently has owl boxes installed and ready to be occupied.

The Estate Manager opened the release box and the owl flew straight to the trees and roosted well. Owls are release during early mornings and late afternoons, to prevent disturbance to other bird species.






Owl Art Project in Alexandra Township Schools. Creating owl friendly children!


Date: 14 August 2018.

Location: Alexandra, South Africa.

Owlproject.org's Owl Art Project 2018 has begun!

Owlproject.org delivered owl masks at four different schools in Alexandra Township, Carter Primary School, Iphutheng Primary School, Marlboro Combined School and Zenzeleni Primary School are this years participating schools. With the help of the International Owl Centre, EcoSolutions (Pty) Ltd and WoodocSA The project funded 500 masks hit the Alexandra streets.

Owlproject.org visited both Marlboro Combined School and Carter Primary School yesterday to begin with the owl mask project with the 6th and 7th Grade children. The children could hardly contain their excitement after waiting weeks for the project to officially start.

Marlboro Combined School.

Before the children began with the Owl Art Project, the teacher assessed their artistic skills to ensure that they pay attention to detail so they can begin with the owl mask project. Marlboro Combined School is also one of our release schools and were the winners of the 2017 owl art competition.










Carter Primary School.

Carter Primary School received their 125 owl masks along with buckets of oil pastels to begin with their artwork. It was wonderful to watch heads bent on concentration while the wooden owl mask cut outs began to come to life. Carter Primary School has been involved in the owl project for the last 5 years. Owl friendly children, owl friendly children, owl friendly adults. The children were excited upon the arrival of Owlproject.org they were filled with excitement to begin with the Owl Art Project. The children are half way done with the owl mask project and they looked amazing. The painted masks are full of colour almost bringing the masks to life.










 A woman from Orlando township in South Africa tried to save an injured Barn Owl (Tyto alba).


Date:10 August 2018.

Location: Orlando West Township, South Africa.

Orlando West is a township found within the Gauteng Province in South Africa.

The townships of South Africa are experiencing a high rate of rodent numbers due to poor waste management. Rodent infestation is a worldwide issue and therefore, Owlproject.org aims to tackle this problem differently by educating the communities, about the importance of owls and their role as a perfect eco-friendly rodent control method.

A young man called Bongani contacted the Owlproject.org to help an old woman from the township who tried to save an injured Barn Owl (Tyto alba). Unfortunately, when the team arrived they found the owl had already died.

Mme Pulane found the injured Barn Owl slumped down in her garden. She discovered the owl after her dogs continuously barked at it, she then picked it up, put it in the garage and wrapped it in a blanket for safety. Mme Pulane continued to explain that the owl actually helped her with the rodent problem she had in her yard. She was so sad to see the owl in such a state.

Owlproject.org interviewed Mme Pulane, watch the video below.


 


Owl talk and release box installations at Phelang LSEN Primary School in collaboration with the Endangered Wildlife Trust.


Location: Phelang LSEN School, Hammanskraal, South Africa.

Date:06 August 2018.

Owlproject.org and Endangered Wildlife Trust have joint ventures in creating owl friendly children.We visited a school in Hammanskraal - Phelang LSEN School which is identified as one of the first WESSA Eco-Schools to participate on our Owl Release Programme.

Owlproject.org gave the children at Phelang LSEN an owl talk on the 15th of May 2018. Children gathered on their school's assembly point to listen to the talk and learn about owls.

The children got the opportunity to get up close and personal with the Barn Owl (Tyto alba) and they were very excited to learn about how they control the rodent population. Owlproject.org handed out questionnaires to the children to fill out as part of our owl mythology survey.







Owl Release Programme.

Owlproject.org and Endangered Wildlife Trust returned to the school after giving a talk. The children and teachers were given a talk about our Owl Release programme which they will be participating in for 20 days prior to release. The children will be divided in to groups by their teacher to get a chance to feed the owls daily. The owls will be fed a day old pre-killed chicks fo a period of 21 days. A freezer was delivered to the school along with enough food for the programme and post release.

The Phelang LSEN School children were excited to have us back at their school to install the release box and could not wait to see the owls again and actually have them on their school premises.

Owl Ringing.

The two juvenile Barn Owls where ringed before they were placed inside the release box. We ring all the owls we receive from the SPCA's around Gauteng and the Johannesburg Wildlife Vet prior to release in order to keep record of the owls we come across. The information will be updated on the SAFring database for record keeping.











Steyn City School gets up close and personal with Barn Owls.

 

Location: Steyn City School.

Date: 2nd August 2018.

On the edge of Sandton, connecting Fourways to Lanseria, Broadacres and Midrand, lies the parkland residence of Steyn City. Steyn City Parkland Residence comprises some 810ha of land currently being developed to create the largest parkland residence in South Africa. Phase 1 of the estate has already seen the completion of many aspects of the development. Steyn City School lies along the Cedar road in Dainfern area. 

In July 2018, Steyn City School had a release pen installed on their premises in order to participate in our Owl Release Programme.

The release programme takes place over three weeks. For the first 20 days, Barn Owls (Tyto alba) are placed into an owl release pen where they are fed daily by the school children. The learners take the role of surrogate parents to the owls. After the 20 days, the owls are released. An owl box is installed on the school premises. The science behind it is that the owls will use the owl box as a breeding site and they will remain around the school and manage the rodent population. For a week after the owls have been released, the school children continue to place food for the owls to ensure that they do not leave the area. A family of Barn Owls (Tyto alba) can eat up to 2500 rats in a year. This makes a substantial difference in a community with high a rodent population.

 

 

 

Steyn City School has two Barn Owls (Tyto alba) inside their release pen of which one Barn Owl did not have a ring on. On the 2nd August 2018, Owlproject.org ringed the Barn Owl (Tyto alba) along with the Grade 7 learners to teach them about the importance of owl ringing.

 

 

At Owlproject.org we ensure that we put SAFrings on the owls prior to release. Bird ringing is the process whereby registered ringers permanently mark wild birds to study their life cycle (births, deaths, age of breeding and survival rates), habit, populations and environments. To do this metal rings (marked with unique numbers) are attached to the bird for future identification.














  

Owl educational talk at LB Pipes (Pty) Ltd.


Date: Collection and survey: July 2018. Educational Talk and release: 01 August 2018.

Location: Meyerton.

Owlproject.org was contacted by the manager at LB Pipes after a discovery that owls were roosting on their site and inside one of their cranes. One Barn Owl (Tyto alba) was found inside the warehouse by one of the workers and he thought about selling it for muti, until the manager stepped in and took it to the Vet. Owlproject.org conducted a survey and discovered that there are more owls roosting on the site. Owls in Meyerton use the LB Pipes as a breeding hub. 




Findings.

It was found that the Barn Owls (Tyto alba) are using one of the cranes to roost and breed. The crane has chicks which have not fledged and evidently owl pellets and bird remains were found on the ground below the crane which the owls have been feeding on.

Owlproject.org conducted an educational talk at the LB Pipes on the 1st August 2018, to educate the workers about the importance and benefits of owls. The aim for the talk is to debunk the myths around owls and educate them about the dangers of using rat poison. The owl which was found by one of the employee and taken to the Vet was returned to the LB Pipes and was ringed on site. Barn Owl boxes were installed to serve as an alternative roosting site.

Everyone seemed fascinated by what they have learnt and mainly finding out that owls eat rats.












Having a bad hair day? Can’t find your comb? Barn owls never leave home without one!

Imagine having a comb attached to your hand, always available, always accessible, at your fingertips so to speak. Well, Barn Owls (Tyto alba) have a comb attached to their toes. Not all toes, just the middle toe on each foot. It’s called the pectinate claw and is used by the owl to preen and clean and reduce the prevalence of lice. This toe has a special toenail with serration or ridges on the inner edge that closely resembles a comb. In fact, Barn Owls with more teeth on their pectinate claw, generally have less ectoparasitic lice. They also use the hook on their beak to clean and preen and delouse but for those hard to reach places, like the top of their head, where a beak just wouldn't suffice, their pectinate toe gets a big toes up.


Barn Owls aren't the only lucky avians with a comb at foot - Nightjars, Heron, Egrets and a few other species never leave home without one either.

-Jonathan Haw.