Please check before you touch...

April 6, 2024

Please, please do think before picking up a flightless bird from the floor.


Although we tend to automatically think that a bird should be able to fly, there are lots of times when this is not the case - but not always needing our help.


We have been taking lots of calls already regarding baby tawny owls on the floor, and this will dramatically increase as we head towards summer. Tawny Owlets (like the one pictured in this article) are often found on the floor of a woodland, often at the base of a tree or alongside a dry stone wall; this is normal, and unless covered in flies or being attacked by a predator they should be left alone. Occasionally you may find them on a footpath, and then you may gently relocate them to behind the nearest broad-leaf tree, where mum and dad will then quickly locate and feed them after dark.


The owlet does not return to the nest once it has left - but that can be a good couple of weeks before it can fly. It would usually sit in one of the branches of the tree where the nest was, and await mum or dad returning with some food. Often however they get rather exuberant when it's feeding time, and will tumble to the floor. It is VERY rare however that they are injured, and the parents will encourage them to climb back into the tree using their very strong beak and talons (like a little 3-wheeler). Sometimes they return to the tree the same night or the following evening, however it is not unusual for them to remain on the floor upto a week, with mum and dad continuing to support-feed until they do get back into the branches.


Nigel

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