Red Hot News

We are delighted to announce the arrival of four very unexpected young ‘uns here at the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary.  Not, as you may expect, bird of prey chicks, but tiny Red Squirrel kittens.

They are now about five weeks old and we’re pretty sure there are four youngsters, although it’s difficult to tell for certain.  Head Falconer Matt Lott is being very careful to monitor them from a distance and not to cause any disturbance or distress to mum or her babies.

Three of the Red Squirrel Kittens in their nestbox

Mum came to the Sanctuary from Pensthorpe Wildlife Park in Norfolk, which hosts the BBC Springwatch series. We are tremendously excited by the arrival of the kittens as, although now a year old and at an age when she could begin to breed, we thought mum’s youth and new surroundings would make it unlikely this year.

You may be wondering, ‘Why Red Squirrels at an Owl Sanctuary?’  Well, the Conservation of birds of prey is of vital importance to us here at the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary, but we are also passionate about animal conservation in general.  Working with ‘The Friends of Anglesey Red Squirrels’, we are hoping to build up our small colony and help their project to re-introduce more Red Squirrels across the island of Anglesey.

Mum has now moved the youngsters into their drey

The babies are doing well and mum has now moved them from the nesting box to the drey she’s prepared for them.  It shouldn’t be long before they’re skittering about their new home, playing tag and by the time they’re a mere 13 weeks old they will be more or less fully grown and ready to be independent from mum.

Proud Father - his offspring should grow to be the spitting image...!

and a Happy Hackback

It’s always great to report on good news, so this week’s blog has been an especially satisfying one to write.  Not only have we had the advent of the Red Squirrel kittens, but also a happy ending to a story that we’ve been following for the last couple of months.  

It began at the beginning of June with the arrival of some Little Owl Chicks at the Sanctuary.  They suddenly found themselves without a tree to keep their nest in – not the best of situations – and needed a little help and TLC until they were old enough to start their journey back to where they belong.  

One of the perky young Little Owls prior to their trip back to the wild, and the hack box which will be their temporary home until they’re ready to fend for themselves

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how they were put in a hack box, the next stage in the process of rehabilitation.  Finally, it’s wonderful to be able to report that the sturdy little youngsters are fit and ready to start making their own way in the world, so Conservation Officer Dean went to open the front of the hack box to observe their first attempts at fledging.  Of course, they won’t be abandoned!  Dean will continue to monitor their progress and leave them food for as long as they need it, but the chances are it won’t be long at all before they can stand on their own eight talons.  Great job guys!