New beginnings...

All in a Day’s Work

This time of year is a very special time at the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary, when (hopefully) we see the advent of some small, fluffy miracles. If you have been keeping up with our blog, you will know that a couple of weeks ago two European Owls hatched, just two days apart. You would think that two days would make very little difference in the scheme of things, but actually, not only do these little creatures grow at an alarming rate, but the disparity in their sizes is quite astonishing.

Little & Large: Hand-feeding these young owlets in the early stage
is almost a full-time occupation - and so is clearing up afterwards!

As with all young owlets they do take a great deal of care and attention and as I’ve mentioned before they do need feeding every four hours. This afternoon I was able to observe one of our volunteers, Kate Knight, deftly handling the tweezers as she fed our hungry youngsters some delicious pieces of gourmet chick. Neither of the owls is yet of a size to swallow a whole chick, but the difference in size of the pieces they are able to digest is quite remarkable. It’s all very scientific! What’s not at all scientific, but totally inevitable is what happens five to ten minutes after the chicks have been fed, which I’m sure doesn’t need elaborating on. It does however mean that keeping the chicks in a clean environment is a fairly constant job too. And whoever does the feeding…

All of our current chicks are doing well and the hot off the press news is that we are pretty sure one of the Saker Falcon eggs is fertile and we’re also sure that our Red Kites are laying. As always, we’ll keep you updated.

Hospital News

This grounded young Musket has probably pulled a ligament,
so will spend some time in one of the re-hab aviaries
before release back to the wild. Note the cautious grip of the falconer
makes sure those sharp talons don’t make contact!

You may remember from last week’s blog that many of our admittances to the raptor hospital are due to Road Traffic Accidents. This isn’t always the case however and, as with a recent case, sometimes there isn’t a clear reason why a bird is injured. This week we were brought a Musket to look after, which came to us via the Barns Vet Practice and had been found by a client of theirs. (A Musket is a male Sparrowhawk, which in the 15th Century would have been flown by a Holy Water Clerk, but that’s another story!)

When he was found, he clearly couldn’t fly, although initially there was no obvious sign of injury. Further examination led to the diagnosis that the bird had probably pulled a ligament, so it will just take time for this to heal. So he’s is now in a rehabilitation aviary, where he can exercise itself safely and where the falconers can keep a discreet but close eye on his recovery prior to release back to the wild.