Bursting at the Seams

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 All quiet on Kestrel Ward at the Raptor Hospital


The first week of July has seen an unprecedented demand for the services of the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary’s Raptor Hospital.

Chief medic, Maz Robinson, declares that the hospital has never treated so many birds in such a short space of time and the facilities are now close to full capacity. Presently, the hospital patients include two baby barn owls, two baby kestrels, one baby tawny owl and one baby little owl.

This, of course, does not mean that only the hospital is full - this is just the first port of call for injured birds - but the rehabilitation aviaries and the birds’  final hacking out facilities are severely stretched too. The rehabilitation aviaries are accommodating two common buzzards, one barn owl and one baby tawny owl and at various locations in the area two baby tawny owls, one kestrel and one baby little owl are currently being hacked out.

The immaturity of the birds reflects the large numbers of vulnerable young which are struggling do deal with a whole host of potential risks at this time of year.

Many baby owls will “branch out” before having fully mastered the art of flying and will fall from trees where they are often found by walkers whose dogs have discovered the bedraggled youngsters. Others are found on or near roads where they have been struck by traffic.

The two Barn Owls currently hospitalised were brought to the sanctuary by the owner of a local equestrian centre. A keen conservationist herself, she had erected an owl nestbox box in a tree on her property.

A Barn Owl was successfully rearing young within when disaster struck. During a severe storm, the tree fell down with two babies in the nestbox and swift intervention was necessary in order to save the little birds. Having avoided serious injury, they are now eating well in the hospital and staff are working towards their eventual release back to the wild.

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Storm damage Barn Owl orphans settle into the hospital.

The baby Little Owl shown below is currently a hospital patient was struck by a car after dark. The driver was aware that he had hit something on the road, but hoped that it had escaped serious injury, as he could see nothing in his rearview mirror. On his return home, however, he discovered a very windswept little owl stuck in the radiator grille on the front of the car!

He brought the baby bird to us immediately and, miraculously, it appeared to have no life threatening injury - but it did look understandably stunned!! After a period of quiet rest and a few morsels of food, this owl is also on the road to recovery and will soon progress to the rehabilitation aviaries.

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Please don’t put me back on that radiator grille!!!


As this blog is being written, an injured sparrowhawk is on its way to the hospital…….and so the valuable work continues through the busiest period in the hospital’s recent history.

The Sanctuary would like to thank all its supporters for their very generous continued donations without which it would be impossible for the hospital and rehabilitation aviaries to remain open to casualties.