Oscar attracts adoring crowd

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By SHELLEY TOPP

A tiny blind owl attracted a big crowd at Emma’s, an Oxford book and gift store last Sunday

Oscar, a Little Owl, was brought to the store by his human caregivers Scott and Tracey Bowman of Oxford Bird Rescue, a non-profit rescue organisation for wild birds.

Scott said Oscar was believed to have been born blind in one eye and injured the other when he flew into chicken coop wire in the South Canterbury town of St Andrews.

He has been in the Bowmans’ care for five months and they are keen to keep him.

“This is the first time I have seen a Little Owl close up, so it is very special,” Tracey said.

The Bowmans have applied to the Department of Conservation to keep Oscar but must prove he is being used for education purposes. The visit to Emma’s at Oxford was part of that process. Oscar has also visited Sheffield School and Rangiora’s Probus Club.

Emma Gillard, owner of Emma’s at Oxford, said she met Oscar when she went to the centre to donate old sheets and towels.

“Scott invited me to meet Oscar. It was instant love,” she said.

Scott suggested Emma’s store could hold a meet-and-greet with Oscar and his visit was “fabulous”.

“It was way bigger than I thought it would be. It was so neat to see people of all ages get so excited about Oscar,” Emma said.

Little Owl’s are a small plump, grey-brown bird with white streaks and spots in their feathers and prominent white bands above yellow eyes.

Their legs have thick white feathering down to pale yellow-grey toes. They were introduced into New Zealand from Germany between 1906 and 1910 and are sometimes referred to as “German Owls”.