Right from it’s conception, RUBOP recognised the importance of taking the project out to schools and the public at large and even before we’d even seen a Barn Owl, our founder Clive James and captive bred Barn Owl Speedy were out visiting schools, Women’s Institutes and other bodies to spread the word on nature and conservation as a whole. Get out and spread the word to the kids and hopefully they’ll grow up respecting nature and the countryside in general.
At the same time; our treasurer Pauline Hall bought some Owly sales good, cards, pottery, soft toys etc, we purchased amarquee and information boards and started attending village shows and fetes. Speedy always proved to be a big attraction, attracted a crowd and raised hundreds of pounds for the project. Into the new millennium and our nesting boxes started to attract Barn Owls; I trained to be a ringer and we were happy to take kids and parents to see Barn Owls close up.
Over the years, Speedy must have been patted and stroked by just about every kid in Rushcliffe and we attended the Rushcliffe Borough’s annual Lark in the Park event held in August in the park in West Bridgford and this was also a good money spinner for the project. In 2006, Clive and Speedy were awarded the Mayor’s Prize for service to the community and Speedy sadly died at the good age of 18 in 2008. Clive acquired Misty in 2009 and she has done a great job for us since.
Last Saturday, we had a barbecue so that some of my family could meet my new Granddaughter, Gracie who was visiting us for the first time. My Nephew Mike brought his two lads over and I arranged with a local farmer to ring some chicks that were growing in his nesting box. Mike with Sam and Joe and my 5 year old Granddaughter Ruby came along as well. At the box, the Farmer along with his 2 sons, Daughters in Law and Grandkids turned up as well so it was with some apprehension that I climbed the ladder to the box. Last May, the box had held 4 chicks but I’d found quite a bit of infant mortality so I had my fingers crossed when I opened the door. Fortunately, there were 2 big chicks alive in the box and these were soon past around the appreciative crowd. Ruby is now an old hand in holding Barn Owls and the others soon got the knack of holding onto the feet. A great success all round!
But next day, it was a different story; a box at Keyworth had 3 chicks in May and I went round with Ruby again and her Mum, Lisa. The householder, wife and daughter were also present but there were no owls in the box; just a load of sticks brought in by the local Jackdaws; back to reality!!