is to make people aware of what wonderful and interesting creatures owls are
and in doing so, we hope to make this world a better and safer place, not only for
owls, but for all animals.
Africa the majority of the local people still consider owls to be a bad omen, harbingers of
death and doom and many owls are killed or injured because of this. Owls are
also killed for “muti” (tribal medicine) purposes by “Sangoma's”
(witchdoctors). If this web page can assist in changing these people’s attitude
and help save the life of even one owl, then we would consider ourselves to
have been successful in our mission.
We also hope
that by bringing you this story, that people will realise that every animal,
and every human being for that matter, deserve to live, but not only to live,
but to be free. And for those people that have received a second chance in life,
we hope that this story will inspire you to make the best of that chance and to
give back unconditionally what you have received.
We also hope
that this website and wonderful story will show people that animals, just like
human beings, have feelings, that they love their young ones and their partners
and that they will do everything to feed and protect them.
May this web
page help to make the world a better place for God’s creatures?
the man that can, not only enjoy the beauty of God’s creation, but that can
become part of it and help shape the future thereof.”
Welcome to "The Caring Owl"
We have launched this website to bring you
the amazing story of a very special and truly magnificent African Spotted Eagle
Owl called “Uiltjie” or maybe better known as “The Caring Owl”.
“Uiltjie” (Diminutive for “owl” in
Afrikaans), as I call him, showed up on our farm one evening in April 2007. I
know he actually deserves a more exotic name, but that is what I call him and
that is what he answers to, so I am afraid he is stuck with it.
Although he was very cautious and timid in
the beginning we soon realized that this owl did not know how to fend for
himself and that he most probably had been raised by humans. “Uiltjie” began
accepting food from us and soon became part of the family, showing up at
ridiculous times of the night, not knowing that we were actually supposed to
sleep at night.
Once I knew that “Uiltjie” has claimed and
accepted our farm as his territory, the task of properly rehabilitating him
began. I first had to teach him what his natural food (mice, rats and birds)
was, and then how to hunt for it. Great was my joy when one evening I heard him
hooting outside on the porch in front of my bedroom? This time he did not come
begging for food, but had a huge rat dangling from his beak. When I approached
him, he lay the rat down on the pillar and looked at me with almost a “smirk”
on his face. The breeding season for spotted eagle owls has begun and this was
his offering to me. He has chosen me as his mate, most probably for life, but
to be quite honest; at that stage I accepted his offering with mixed feelings.
Yes, I was overwhelmed with joy and pride that he accepted me as his mate, but
I also knew that this meant that “Uiltjie” was imprinted on me and would most
probably never have a normal “Owl life” and would most probably never accept a
female owl as his mate and never have the joy of raising his own little owlets
in a natural way.
Most people won’t understand it, but a
magnificent bird like “Uiltjie” was never meant to be a “pet”, but to hunt
freely in the wild, mate with a female owl, have chicks, hunt to feed them and
even die fighting to raise and protect his “real owl” family. He might not live
as long as when in captivity, but that is what owls are born to do and what
they have done for a couple of million years, most probably some of the most
proficient hunters ever to roam the earth.
That night there on the porch I silently
took an oath that I would make it my mission in life to try and find a suitable
female for him, though I knew that my mission was most probably doomed from the
beginning. Now, almost six years later, I am still trying to get him to accept
another female owl as his mate, but with no success so far. This doesn’t mean
that I have not presented him with suitable females; no “Uiltjie” just had
plans of his own. He did not only accept me as his partner, but also my wife
and children. It became a regular sight to see him coming into the house with a
rodent, or sometimes even a snake, dangling from his beak, looking for the
nearest “victim” to coax into accepting his offering.
In my quest to find a suitable mate for
“Uiltjie”, I began taking in injured and orphaned owlets, but “Uiltjie” took me
as his mate and as most of you know, owls mate for life, so here I find myself,
the wife of a Spotted Eagle Owl. As I spend most of my time at home in my
workroom/study, “Uiltjie” began to see it as our nest and all injured birds and
animals that I brought into this room, he saw as my children. And if it was my
children and I fed them, then surely it was his duty as my husband to provide
me and them with food.
This is how the two of us began rehabilitating
injured and orphaned owlets. People began bringing injured or orphaned birds to
me and I brought them into my “owl room” as I began calling it. Once they were
in the “owl room” and “Uiltjie” saw me taking care of them, he joined the
rescue mission by bringing them rodents that he caught outside. But it is not
only Spotted Eagle Owls that “Uiltjie” adopted, no any injured bird or animal
that I brought into that room would be accepted by him and fed with whatever he
managed to catch during his hunting trips, if of course they were willing to be
fed. He even tried feeding a Crowned Eagle that suffered from secondary
poisoning, but because I was worried for his safety, I had to stop him from
It is now seven years later and I am still
married to “Uiltjie”. During this period, as the “wife” of an owl, I think I
learnt more about Spotted Eagle Owls than most people that study them for a
living. With the help of “Uiltjie” the two of us have successfully raised and
rehabilitated 28 orphaned Spotted Eagle Owlets as well as a lot of other
injured birds. My relationship with him goes far beyond that of a human being
with his pet, we are companions, soul mates, and have the deepest respect and
understanding for each other. I began to understand how Spotted Eagle Owls
think; how they are prepared to offer up their lives for their families and how
they will even accept orphans into their families, treating them as their own.
I also came to realize what remarkable creatures owls are, how keen their
senses are and what remarkable hunters they are, most probably the best to ever
roam this earth. But during this past couple of years I also came to realize
how difficult, sometimes cruel, the life of an owl can be, how everything in
nature actually revolves around “survival of the fittest”.
Our aim is to try and publish a chapter in
the life of this remarkable owl every week on this website. We will also try
and upload some of the remarkable video footage that we managed to capture
during the past couple of years to YouTube and will provide links to these
videos on this website.
So, if you find this story interesting,
please feel free to join us every week for a new chapter in the remarkable life
of “Uiltjie” the African Spotted Eagle Owl, better known as “The Caring Owl”. I
can promise you that this is the most remarkable “Owl Story” that you have ever
read or will ever read.