Rest, Recuperate...

Last week we promised you an update on the resident birds in the care of our raptor hospital here at S.O.S and we have been quite busy just recently. As you may recall from previous years, this is an especially hectic time where owl chicks are concerned and in particular Tawny Owl chicks, who seem to find their way out of their nests with remarkable regularity. It is concerning to see a small, defenceless creature sitting forlornly at the bottom of a tree but, by and large, if it’s a Tawny Owlet, the chances are mum and dad know exactly where it is and will continue to look after it.

Nevertheless, we have had a number of calls to the Sanctuary in the last few days, asking for advice about apparently orphaned birds and generally our advice is to put the youngster back in the nearest tree if at all possible and if possible, keep an eye on it for 24 hours. Sometimes of course, circumstances don’t allow for this and we have had some instances, such as when a youngster appeared on a lady’s window ledge, when we suggest that it would be better to bring the bird in to us or take it to the nearest vet if we are too far away.

Recently, Stowe Vets contacted our Conservation Officer Dean, to say that they had been given a baby Tawny Owl by a member of the public. Their examinations of it showed that there was nothing at all wrong, apart from the fact that it was too young to fend for itself in the wild. The Tawny Owlet is now residing with us at the Sanctuary, where it will be fed and cared for until it’s old enough to hunt and look after itself, when it will then be hacked back to the wild. The falconers will be extremely careful whilst the owlet is with us not to handle it at all un-necessarily, as it is vital that it retains its wild state and doesn’t imprint on human beings at all.

I am pleased to report that we have also had two very happy endings over the last few days. In our first May blog, we reported on a Tawny Owl that had clearly been the victim of a road traffic accident. Apart from some minor injuries and being rather thin, there didn’t appear to be too much wrong and after a couple of weeks of rest and relaxation and a few substantial meals, it was back to a healthy weight and looking as good as new. After a last health check, the Tawny was finally released last Sunday.

Another success story was the Musket we reported on at the beginning of this month, which appeared to have pulled a ligament. Again, all that was required was some recuperation time in one of the Sanctuary’s rehabilitation aviaries and in no time at all the bird was fit for release. As there was no indication of where the Musket was found, Dean elected to release it in a local wood known as being a good area for Sparrowhawks and a circumstance which presents an excellent opportunity to add a fresh bloodline to the area.

Our latest arrivals were four little owl chicks, but more about that in our next blog, when we will also have information about how our nest box scheme is doing.