On the 31st of August 2019 we had the privilege to learn about owls. Sara Orchardson from Eco Solutions lectured us on these fascinating and beautiful birds and how their presence in your garden offers hours of intriguing viewing. Furthermore, they provide an efficient means of pest control. The two most common species in Gauteng are the Barn Owl and the Spotted-eagle Owl. Whilst these owls are strikingly different in appearance, both species exhibit many similar adaptations. These adaptations range from their specially designed wings, which allow them to fly silently whilst listening for prey during flight. Light sensitive eyes enable them to detect prey in low light conditions and it is these complex design features that are the basis for the success of the owl as a species. Eco Solutions is involved with an owl box project to promote the breeding and existence of owls as owls are relatively susceptible to environmental changes. Ring recoveries are an essential component in the Eco Solutions Owl Box Project and owl rehabilitation. Young owlets who fledge from owl boxes are destined to go on and become "owl box breeding owls". It is on this "natal recognition" that the success of the project relies. This type of information is critical to our knowledge as it helps to indicate release procedure success and provides data on fledging distances and survival rates. If you do come across a dead owl in the Gauteng area, please contact Eco Solutions. Without sounding too macabre, we would love to have a look at it.
Delina Chipape from owlproject.org came and shared the education projects that owlproject.org does in our communities. The work in rural areas, semi-urban areas and urban areas are invaluable for the survival of owls. These projects are mainly at schools when the children can learn all about owls and the good, they are doing in our eco systems. Delina explained that the owl project bring hope to and involves educating the youth in times where there are huge challenges facing the youth in our country even if the idea of donating to an owl program in townships may seem frivolous. There are big issues that donor funds are required to tackle - health, education, food security, safety and more. The impact of rodents in townships on food security, to affect health and spread disease was discussed and how the owlproject.org program impacted the youth was highly educational, as was the video discussion with a headmaster at one of our participating schools.
"owlproject.org raises the standard of living for kids in these areas in 2 ways", he said, "It teaches them to nurture, they learn to look after the owls in their care, something not generally experienced by township children, secondly, it teaches them awe and amazement for the world in which they live and the creatures with whom they share that world". We firmly believe that without education, Africa cannot embrace conservation.