This is Montgomery. He's a Tasmanian Masked Owl, and as I learned on our visit to the Raptor and Wildlife Refuge of Tasmania in Kettering last week, that's one of only two types of owl in Tasmania. Isn't he beautiful?
This amazing facility was set up by veterinary nurse and licensed wildlife carer Craig Webb with purpose built aviaries and volunteers who are working to rescue and rehabilitate Tasmanian raptors, like eagles, hawks, owls and falcons. When the birds can't be released due to their nature of their injuries, they get to live in the education area of the property and help people understand them better. Some have been hit by cars, some have collided with powerlines, others have been shot by morons. On our tour last week we saw swamp harriers, wedge-tailed eagles, brown goshawks (such a stunning bird, much more than the name suggests), southern boobook owls and brown falcons.
Cameras in the aviaries monitor the birds and allow the team to see injuries that the birds may hide when they see you coming. Through this camera footage, we saw a female sitting on two eggs and the male bringing her food. Awesome to see. I've had several chickens taken by grey goshawks over the years and I'm always torn about it. Sad for the loss of my hen, but happy that our beautiful wildlife is fed. We learned at the refuge that, for example, the lifespan of wedge-tailed eagles is not as long as it used to be due to challenges finding food - and, I guess, clearing of habitat.
You can book a private tour as we did via their web site. By appointment only. Go on - the money goes towards saving some of these wonderful birds. And while you are there, buy one of their beautiful calendars.