Back To The Wild

One of the two Barn Owls which - after a period of R&R with us - is now back in the wild

We have had yet another busy week at the raptor hospital and have some good news to report.  You may remember in a recent blog we informed you about a Barn Owl that came in to the hospital after an unfortunate encounter with a fox.  It’s sometimes tricky to tell initially with owls just how hurt they are, as they have a habit of keeping very, very still if they feel threatened.  It’s not a bad idea if, as an owl, you think moving could get you into more trouble, but it makes it a tad more difficult for us humans to always tell if an owl is in pain or distress.  

However, the falconers were able to establish with this particular young lady that her only real problem was a loss of feathers and no doubt some emotional upset caused by the incident. In reality, all she needed was time to recuperate from her ordeal and to grow back her missing feathers. She stayed with us in one of the Sanctuary’s rehabilitation aviaries for almost a month, to do just that.

Then, a couple of weeks ago we also had another Barn Owl brought in.  This time it was a male bird, which was found just off the main road near to us. It was actually spotted in the rut of a field and seemed unable to fly out of it.  We gave the owl a thorough examination and could find no signs of any physical injury; again, a period of TLC, rest and recuperation were exactly what the doctor ordered and after a fortnight the owl was ready to be released.

One of the released pair in one of the rather ignominious boxes which enable a stress-free journey to the release site

As we had one male and one female Barn Owl ready to go back to the wild, Andy thought it would be the ideal opportunity to do a little match making so he took them both to a local farm which is involved in our owl nest box scheme and offers pastureland, hedgerows and grass margins along the edges of the fields - ideal habitat for Barn Owls to live and hunt - and released them there.  With a little luck this pair may just settle down in time to produce a brood of youngsters next year.

... in a flurry of feathers, off one of them goes...

Onwards & upwards

But the work of the Sanctuary is never done and this week, we had two calls from members of the public who had found injured birds of prey and wanted advice about what to do for them.  Our guidance is always to wrap an injured bird carefully in a towel and either bring it to us if possible, or alternatively take it to one of any number of animal rescue places across the country, where the bird can be assessed and given the requisite care. Failing that, we suggest that an injured bird be taken straight to the nearest veterinary surgery.  This should be free, as vets have a duty of care to injured wild animals.  Once a bird has be treated, then very often the vet will pass it on to places such as the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary to continue the rehabilitation and eventual release.  More about our new patients in our next blog!