What a hoot! #owlsforall

Photo: Edd Deane via wikimedia commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Tyto_alba#mediaviewer/File:Barn_Owl_in_Norfolk.jpg
Photo: Edd Deane via wikimedia commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Tyto_alba#mediaviewer/File:Barn_Owl_in_Norfolk.jpg

This morning I did a little interview on the Today programme (1hr 21 minutes into programme) – about Labour’s new policy of an owl for everyone. What a hoot!

Yesterday the Labour Party Press Twitter account was hacked (by the Provisional RSPB or the Provisional Barn Owl Trust or the Provisional Hawk and Owl Trust?) and promised an owl for everyone.  This story had everyone smiling –  a political party looking slightly foolish and promising the Earth to the electorate – it could only be a mistake. What a hoot!

The Today programme wanted to have a little laugh about this, and so I was in the BBC Radio Northampton studio at 0715 this morning wondering what the first question might be.

There are, very roughly, c60,000 pairs of owls in the UK (Little Owl, Short-eared Owl, Long-eared Owl, Barn Owl and Tawny Owl) and 60,ooo,ooo of us. That’s 500 of us per owl.  For us each to have our own owl, preferably flying around the countryside rather than sitting in a shed at the bottom of the garden, would require each to have the equivalent of 1000 mice a year to keep going – so Labour have to find a way to provide c60,000,000.000 (60 billion) more mice running around our feet too.

A healthy countryside would provide more wildlife generally, and those species near the top of the food chain, like owls, would prosper as a result.  Yes, let’s have more owls – let’s have more wildlife – let’s have a richer countryside, please!

And people do actually want more wildlife.  Let’s hope that all political parties remember the owls when writing their election manifestos ahead of next May’s UK general election.

PS there are about 17  million residents per pair of nesting Hen Harriers in England – sign here for the obvious solution.

 

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18 Replies to “What a hoot! #owlsforall”

  1. Another uncosted Labour policy !!!

    It's been estimated - but not by Labour itself - to cost at least 5 millions and the ecological implications have as usual not been through

    Allen Ginsberg was right! !

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  2. "There are, very roughly, c60,000 pairs of owls in the UK (Little Owl, Short-eared Owl, Long-eared Owl, Barn Owl and Tawny Owl) and 60,ooo,ooo of us. That’s 500 of us per owl."

    Sorry Mark, I think that should be 1000 of us per owl.

    Do you think they'd let us switch to having an Hen Harrier instead - they do look a little like owls.

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        1. Of course with the financial state of the nation it will only be 1 owl per household and any more will be means tested.

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          1. I guess it means the end of the thirty-seven and a half owl week to pay for it all

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  3. Have you read 'do androids dream of electric sheep' by Philip K Dick? You really should - owls have a special place in it.

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  4. Clearly more popular with the British public than most of the ill thought daft policies politicians dream up - why have they dropped it? The fact that we will be wading through small mammals is irrelevant!

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  5. China Owls Seldom Deceive Clay Pigeons; They Just Chase Past Each Other
    Making Preposterous Puns. Ha!

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