This being the time of year when fledgling Tawny Owls are finding their way around, during the last few weeks we have acquired a total of five babies who have either been brought into us as 'orphans' or have had to be rescued in various states of repair. We're pleased to report that we've been able to been able to release all five of them back to nature fit and well
The first owlet had wandered too far away from its nest to be put back and had obviously been absent-without-leave from home for quite a while as it was very hungry by the time it was brought into us.
The second and third owlets were lovingly picked up by a kind Labrador - yes, Labrador - whilst out with its owner. Again the babies could not be put back in or near their nest immediately as the lady dog-owner was walking in a wood and had no idea where exactly they had been retrieved from.
The fourth owlet was rescued in a very poor and extremely smelly state as it had fallen in a sceptic tank and was basically just a little lump of poop. At first it was actually difficult to see what type of owl it was until it had a bath… and guess who got that job? Several bowls of stinky water later, we had one very happy, poop-free Tawny Owl chick.
And last but not least, the final Tawny baby was found all alone and very wet, too wet to be left where it was found* so after a good dry up and feed, owlet number five joined the other four in the recuperation aviaries awaiting release.
A few weeks ago it was decided all the babies were ready to be taken to a safe & secluded site where they were placed in a Hack Box - basically a false nest where they are fed daily until willing and able to fend for themselves: while in the box the babies get used to the sights and sounds of the surrounding area where they will eventually be released. I am happy to say that day came around last week and in beautiful warm & sunny weather, we had the pleasure of watching them all fly off very happily into the surrounding woods, all 'as free as a bird'.
* P.S. We always suggest that 'found' baby Tawny Owls should never be picked up but whenever possible left where they are, as their parents usually know of their proximity and will still care for the youngsters even though they may be out of the nest.