Over the weekend I received a call from the landowner where my Little Owl site No 47 is located. Its not far from the village of Peckleton and I haven't seen an owl here since 2009! So when the call came in telling me that a juvenile Little Owl had been rescued I was very interested.
The juvenile was found at the foot of a tree 2 weeks ago, at the time it appeared lifeless and had a severely damaged right eye. It was taken in and kept in an outhouse, an upturned plastic washing basket was used to retain it and keep it safe. During its time in captivity it has been fed fresh rabbit and dog food, this combination seems to have worked wonders! It now looks a picture of health and its eye is heeling well. On the odd occasion it has even been let out for a fly around the shed!
Juvenile Little Owl, on the mend.
We discussed the situation at length and it seemed we had three options, release it, keep it or hand it in? It was a bit of a dilemma but after all the pros and cons were considered we were in agreement that a reintroduction back to its natural surroundings would be best. Our major concern with this option was it had become "humanised" and totally reliant on being fed.
Due to the fact that its parents were still about (I'd seen them on arrival) we hoped they would accept it back and teach it the skills required to survive. We took the washing basket outside and positioned it near to the nest tree, image below. We then placed a couple of bricks on the top to try and deter the local cats, we then retreated to a safe distance and observed.
After around 30 minutes there was a visitor.......one of the parents!
They both seemed confused at first, but in time the adult got nearer and nearer until they were almost making contact through the holes.
The plan was working perfectly.....so far! The next and final stage of the plan was around 9.00pm the washing basket will be lifted at one end allowing either the juvenile out or the parent owl in, at the time of writing I am waiting to hear how things went, to be continued................
Whilst waiting for the adult birds to find the juvenile there was a few photo opportunities, below.