Sunday, 6 June 2010

Owl chick update

Joining our team of owls earlier this year were a pair of tawny chicks and a pair of barn owl chicks. Katie took on the task of rearing them, and is doing a fantastic job! All four are thriving and will hopefully join the flying team  this Summer as well as give Milo the odd break on welcoming duty.

Above is a photo of Tyto taken only yesterday, halfway through transition from "ugly duckling" to "beautiful swan" This is what he did look like...

and this is what he will end up looking like...

One of the most beautiful, and certainly the most recognisable British owl.

Can you remember what our Tawny owl chicks looked like at 2 days old...

Now they are old enough to perch for themselves and are also halfway through their transition.

It is at this stage that in the wild they often fall from their nest while trying to branch out. Unable to fly yet, many people pick them up to take to wildlife rescue centres or bring them to us here. Please do NOT do this. If you see a young tawny chick at a base of a tree, leave it be and it will slowly make its way back up to the nest. Tawny chicks are excellent climbers.

For those that still don't believe, watch this video clip below, taken by Katie, showing just that...

Our owl chicks are often seen out and about the Centre accompanied by keeper Katie. Make sure you keep your eyes open for them next time you are here.


  1. Ok the video convinced me!

  2. Re tawny fledgling video, this if taken together with the text above is misleading. Sure this approx 30-day old fledgling is able to climb, and you can see how it is helped by lift from its wings. But nestlings (say <25 days and especially <20 days), which also fall from the nest for other reasons, cannot climb and can't get lift from their wings. They have no instinct to climb because their behaviour is designed to keep them in the nest. Once on the ground they stay on the ground, often at the base of a tree, and have no way of climbing back up.
    Unfortunately none of the rescue advice on the internet makes this essential distinction between nestlings and fledglings. If a nestling is left on the ground it is likely to perish because it is helpless and totally vulnerable to predation.
    All the same I've favourited this very nice clip on my YT channel!

  3. romillyh - Thank you for you comments. It is a fair point you raise. I did think the reference to the stage the owl was at plus included photo made it clear, but I can understand the confusion.


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