Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Roosting Owls

While visiting Strumpshaw my children found a dying baby owl beneath a tall ash tree in the woods. They had been trying to feed it worms and it was still able to open its mouth and clasp it's tiny claws. Having looked at the RSPB owl advice online, (*for fledged young leave well alone) I phoned the 'Raptor Trust' ( ) and a volunteer came around to collect it. Unable to replace the owl into the nest, as it was too high, we had placed the baby owl into a box and bought it inside to keep it warm out of the rain but it was dead when the man arrived. Young tawny owls often fall from the nest site while they are fledging and learning to fly but this was only a nestling and so had either climbed and toppled or had been pushed out by it's siblings perhaps. Its apparently quite common for baby owls to fall out of the nest in this way and when we looked carefully we could see the mother owl still sitting on the nest high up in the tree. I returned the next morning and she was still sitting there, beautifully camouflaged and with her back out to the weather and her head turned in readiness, hopefully still guarding other unfledged chicks. Adam and I searched for other evidence and Adam impressively spied an owl pellet in the garlic beneath the tree although I admit that we would never have spotted the owl if it hadn't been for the fallen nestling.

I am away back to the west Country now but Adam may return in a few weeks to see if he can see any evidence of the young tawny owls beginning to stretch their wings as they grow up and explore around the nest.

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