By Isabelle Groc
For retired veterinarian Dick Clegg, protecting barn owls has been a three-decade labour of love
In B.C.’s Fraser Valley somewhere near Chilliwack, night has fallen. Dick Clegg is getting ready for his nocturnal rounds. For nearly three decades, he has been at it, often several times a week, visiting farms sprinkled around the valley. Clegg, a large-animal veterinarian now retired, is not checking on livestock. Nor is he out on social calls. He is looking in on wild barn owls.
In a dark and quiet barn, Clegg silently climbs a ladder six to nine metres up into the rafters, to check on a nest box he built and installed. As he slowly opens it, a loud, guttural, snake-like hissing sound suddenly pierces the silence of the night. “They are such fierce predators, you have to take precautions when you handle them,” he says. He gently picks up the chicks and bands them before returning them to the box. He then travels to the next site, until the job is done and