max temp: 16°C

min temp: 15°C


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

10:44 11 February 2014

Mabel the owl in her hollow in Christchurch Park

Mabel the owl in her hollow in Christchurch Park

paul chapman

Can you name a famous owl?


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.”


1 comment

Dan Poulter with employees at B&Q

A Suffolk MP has said he will do what he can to try and prevent a B&Q store closing down with the potential loss of around 100 jobs.

Rod Kiddell

Rod Kiddell, former editor of the EADT and Evening Star, died recently, aged 72. Today, his son Tim Kiddell, and former colleagues, pay tribute to him.

Police are hunting for three man after a man was stabbed in the chest in Ipswich last night.

Children's mental health problems are increasing in Suffolk. PA/PA Wire

A worrying increase in the need for mental health treatment in Suffolk was revealed on Saturday. But what is behind this rise?

Bury Magistrates Court.

Only a few days remain for people to object to government proposals to cut the number of magistrates’ courts in Suffolk.

Dr Daniel Poulter MP

Former health minister Dan Poulter had accused the Government of imposing excessive working hours and compromising patient safety with its new junior doctor contracts.

Abellio Greater Anglia

Trains running between Essex and Suffolk and the capital face delays, alterations and cancellations this morning due to a defective piece of track at Harold Wood.

Abellio Greater Anglia

Rail operators hope to reopen blocked lines at Needham Market, closed after a body was found on the tracks close to the railway station, in the next 25 minutes.

Ipswich mayor Glen Chisholm has a largely ceremonial role - but could Suffolk and Norfolk have an executive mayor in future?

There will be no meaningful devolution in East Anglian without a directly-elected mayor for Suffolk and Norfolk.

Groton Church north aisle - lead partly stripped

A Suffolk church has become the ninth in recent weeks to be targeted by lead thieves.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages