Ipswich: Christchurch Park’s celebrity owl Mabel still happy to be out and about during the day

Mabel the owl in her hollow in Christchurch Park Mabel the owl in her hollow in Christchurch Park

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
10:44 AM

Can you name a famous owl?

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Most people would say Hedwig, faithful post-carrying companion of Harry Potter from JK Rowling’s best selling books.

But if you’re a regular visitor to Christchurch Park you might decide to plump for Mabel.

The tawny owl has made local and national headlines for several years because of her surprisingly prominent appearances during daylight hours.

The birds are of course nocturnal animals but since Mabel made her home in a hollow at the top of a tree in the park she is often on show during the day.

Andy Hulme, manager of the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary at Stonham Barns, said: “Most tawnys tend to be very secretive and elusive. You tend to hear them rather than see them.

“But Mabel’s probably just got used to people and because nothing’s happened to her she doesn’t look upon people as a threat.

“She’s not tame but she’s come accustomed to an urban environment.”

Despite living in the middle of Suffolk’s county town Mr Hulme added Mabel doesn’t face any unusual dangers.

He said as an older bird Mabel would be quite used to town traffic as well as people and as cars travel at slower speeds here than out in the country it was unlikely she’d be hit by one.

It’s also perfectly safe to be around her. When asked what Mabel would do if approached Mr Hulme said: “The bird will be happy (around humans) up to a certain point and then it will take flight.

“If she starts to look a little bit agitated back off a bit. Otherwise just enjoy it.”

However any offspring will still have to face the challenges they would out in the countryside.

Mr Hulme added: “If the bird breeds this year then the youngsters will be as vulnerable as they would be in the wild to foxes or crows.

“But that would be the same as if it was living in the countryside.”

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