At fifteen years old, Lily the Little Owl is one of the sanctuary’s established matriarchs.
Born at Suffolk Owl Sanctuary to Snapdragon in 2002, Lily had lived a mainly solitary existence until quite recently.
Despite being introduced to a succession of potential mates over several years, she had refused to tolerate a male presence in her aviary……until Rambo appeared on the scene last year! After a decidedly frosty initial reception from Lily, young Rambo held his nerve and took encouragement from the fact that he had not been completely rejected.
By the winter of 2017, Lily appeared to have mellowed a little and as a consequence, Rambo’s confidence grew. After a more intimate relationship was forced upon them by the severe winter weather - and the necessity to share the aviary’s sheltered nestbox - the pair greeted the Spring as a united front.
The depth of their new fondness for each other was then proved in the form of two eggs which suddenly appeared in their quarters. The falconry team could hardly believe that, at this “mature” stage of her life, Lily might have produced offspring! Sadly, one of the eggs proved to be infertile, but the second looked promising and after the allotted 29 days of incubation, a healthy baby little owl appeared.
In order to protect the little mite from any maternal heavyhandedness, the decision was made to hand-rear him and he quickly settled into a brooder with a cuddly toy in the falconers’ hut!
Over the next few weeks little Sebastian grew rapidly and positively thrived in the human environment of the hut - to accustom him to humans from such an early age will condition him for ease of training when the time comes.
The long-term hope is that Sebastian will in time become a fully fledged (!) member of our flying team, contributing to the enjoyment and education of visitors and school groups and becoming a firm favourite with all the sanctuary’s supporters.