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What should one do with a country as rich in natural beauty as Croatia? Preserve it as much as it is possible, of course. That’s why Croatian state has a very large number of natural parks and reserves, where natural diversity is protected and taken care of. One goal of this mission is saving owls around Croatia. A recent joint operation between ornithological association Brkata Sjenica and Nature Perseverance Institution of Dubrovnik-Neretva County has done just that.

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Last September, an injured female specimen of Eurasian eagle-owl has been found near the river of Neretva. The poor bird was brought to headquarters of Sibenik Falconry organization, where experts discovered a damaged wing. The owl had to be healed before being returned to nature, and has spent a month in organization’s facilities. It was believed the injury was caused by bird’s crash with electronic cables.

Upon recovery, the bird was released by members of Brkata Sjenica, whose mission is not just saving owls around Croatia, but taking care for all the birds in the country. The bird has shown normal stability during flight, so there is no reason to fear for its safety. As a matter of fact, it immediately begun to respond to other owl’s hooting, believed to belong to a male. If it is her mate, people of Dubrovnik County provided a happy end to a love story with feathers.

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Eurasian eagle-owls are night animals, with approximate size of 60 centimeters. The wings of the animal can spread up to a meter and a half. It is a skilful predator which usually hunts during dusk and night. Owl eats rodents, hedgehogs and cases of assaulting smaller bird prey have also been noted. The species has a rather funny name in Latin, bubo bubo. In Croatian language, these animals are literally called “eared owls”, as two distinctive feathers on their head resemble ears. They can live up to 20 years in nature, while those in Zoos can prolong their life up to 60. They make very little sound while flying, only occasionally sweeping the wings to maintain height and speed.

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Despite their species having a stable population on world scale, Croats have proclaimed this animal endangered on their soil. As such, it is under maximum protection by state authorities and belongs to the so-called “Red Book” of threatened species. Thus, country residents spend a lot of money on saving owls around Croatia, hopefully providing them with much-needed care. The recently recovered lovebird will surely contribute to this cause.

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