Ipswich’s new ‘Mabel’ has a new name - as chosen by you!
PUBLISHED: 07:15 27 November 2019 | UPDATED: 08:55 27 November 2019
CHRIS LEGENDRE (@REEDERWILDLIFE)
The people of Ipswich have spoken - Mabel the Tawny owl’s chick, which has moved into her old perch in Christchurch Park, has been named.
After a Tawny owl took up residence is Mabel's favourite tree in the heart of Ipswich, park rangers came to believe the owl was actually one of Mabel's chicks returning to her nest.
Now, after 164 votes, the public have decided the new owl's name will be - Matilda.
Lisa Stannard, borough council parks manager, said: "We are so pleased so many people took part in the Star's competition and delighted that Matilda is the name chosen for our newest resident.
"Like Mabel, Matilda is already something of a celebrity and we would ask visitors not to disturb her when they go past her lofty perch.
"She is a beautiful bird and we want to keep her happy."
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The gender of the bird is thought to remain a mystery as it will be very difficult for wildlife experts to establish without disturbing Matilda, but the name will remain regardless.
Mabel became one of the park's best-loved attractions after first being spotted in 2007. Traditionally timid creatures, owls usually stay out of sight of humans and remain nocturnal - but not Mabel, who would happily sit out during the daylight.
Despite the poll shared on this newspaper's website, one young owl enthusiast took naming the bird into her own creative hands.
Ms Stannard added: "We were thrilled to receive a lovely drawing of the owl from a young girl called Darcey, who came up with the name Babel by combining Mabel and baby. A lovely suggestion, Darcey, but others have chosen Matilda."
There are only 20,000 breeding pairs of tawny owl left in the UK. Their iconic 'twit twoo' call is actually produced by two owls at a time - female tawny's make the 'twit' call and males respond with the 'twoo'.
Tawny owls only lay two to four eggs per clutch, so for Matilda to return to her nest is a sign the park is an ideal environment for the bird.
It is thought by rangers the park is popular with owls because it has many veteran trees for nesting and plenty of woodland and grass areas to hunt in.
The figure for this vote were correct as of November 26, 2019.
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