Unusual guest comes into our care
Owls are one of our most popular birds and we are lucky in the UK to have 5 species namely the Barn owl, Long-eared owl, Short-eared owl, Little Owl and the owlet featured, the Tawny Owl. Tawny owl fledglings ideally should be left alone if found. It’s hard to imagine something so fluffy and doe eyed doesn’t need our help but they are very resilient and hardy birds. Unless there is obvious injury, such as evidence of predation or blood, it’s best to leave the bird it situ.
Tawnys, after hatching and before full fledging, go through a process called ‘branching’. The process of this is literally walking, hopping and climbing out of the nest and out into the tree. It’s not uncommon for them to flutter to the ground, they are good at camouflaging themselves and are surprisingly good climbers. Yep, you read that right, unlike most other birds, tawny fledglings can climb back up into their tree! They often wait until evening/night to do so. The adult birds locate their young through calls and will feed them on the ground or back in the tree but will keep away if there is human intervention.
As with all young animals, they are much better left in their own environment, even if they do appear completely helpless, and being cared for by their parents. No amount of wildlife rehabilitation can better nature and we should only get involved if there is an obvious injury/threat.
This little owlet was dehydrated on arrival and was cared for by vets. He/she has moved onto a wildlife rescue to until release. You can read more about what to do with fledgling owls/birds of prey at RSPCA England & Wales.