Posted on 26th July 2011 by Media Relations
I took a look at something quite unexpected, ‘Angus’ the Rufous Owl had laid an
egg. No, he hadn’t defied the odds and become the first male to take on the hatching
role. He, we discovered, is actually a she, and has now been renamed ‘Agnes’.
is a very much loved member of the Taronga family and has delighted visitors at
the Taronga QBE Free Flight Bird Show for many years. This stunning bird with soft blue
feathers around its eyes came to the Zoo as a chick in 2003 but it’s really
hard to tell the boys from the girls. Sometimes you have to do a surgical
procedure to tell them apart. There wasn’t ever a reason for us to know if the
Rufous Owl was male or female, so rather than doing an unnecessary procedure we
dubbed it ‘Angus’ and as is human nature, it was referred to as a male for the
last eight years.
Angus started to get picked on by the local magpies and crows whilst he was
trying to show off his skills in the Bird Show, so he made the move into our
Nocturnal House for a quieter life as he entered middle age.
our Nocturnal House keeper wanted to make Angus feel as comfortable as possible
and built a tropical home for him and spent lots of time talking and chatting
to the Rufous Owl. Angus immediately struck up a rapport with Paul and would
chatter back, watch him as he went about his work, allowed Paul to stroke the
feathers on his head (something he would never have tolerated previously) and
seemed to be quite enamoured with his new keeper.
out Angus decided that for all intents and purposes Paul was his ‘mate’, his
replacement bird partner and laid an egg.
Paul tells the remarkable story of how Angus was sitting in the exhibit,
proud as punch trying to direct Paul to the corner where the egg was sitting.
Paul initially thought one of the other keepers was playing a joke on him, so
didn’t get too excited until it was confirmed to be the real deal.
Agnes, apologies you have had a boy’s moniker for the last few years, but just
goes to show our animals delight and continue to amaze and teach us things on a