Our story starts when we had a baby Barn Owl brought into us a few weeks ago. It looked a though the youngster had tried to fledge but appeared far to weak to have done so and on inspection we determined an advanced state of starvation. Food was needed fast, and what we provided soon disappeared down an eager throat!.
When harsher times may have diminished the food source in the wild, after a period of clement summer weather our team our team were puzzled by the condition of the owlet and put the lack of food down to the fact the parents may have been going through a moult. That being the case, they probably didn't have the strength to hunt for enough to feed a growing brood, with what little food they could get most likely being kept for themselves.
In the East of England a late breeding season this year following the prolonged winter has meant meant late broods amongst a good proportion of our wild owl species. This baby was found under a very large tree just under the hollow where the parents had made their nest. However, whilst we would normally advocate returning any foundlings to their nest, in this case it was thirty to forty feet up of the ground and could not be reached by the people that found him: hence the fact it was brought into the Sanctuary.
Lo & behold, a few days later history repeated itself when another youngster was found in pretty much the same predicament and also brought into us. So together we fed them up, gave them a quiet & secluded environment in which to gain strength & confidence and all as proved good going. As you can see from the photos both babies are now doing really well, have gained weight steadily and are now ready to be put out to hack - a nest box in the wild away from the Sanctuary where they are placed to get their local bearings and which we replenish daily with food until we're confident they're ready to be released. That day is imminent, so we'll keep you posted hopefully with photos of the day they get to fly free for the first time.