Owlet reunited with mum!

A baby tawny owl has been reunited with its mum this lunch time in woods by Roedale Valley Allotments, Brighton.

Dog walkers discovered the owlet on the ground and called East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service.  Kelly Elkins and Brent Smith from Brighton & Hove Wildlife Advice and Rescue Service were asked to attend and assess the situation.

They were shown where the owlet was found, which turned out to be a very busy dog walking pathway.   

It is quite normal for young tawny owlets to wander and climb up and down tree trunks from a very young age and are often found on the floor close to tree trunks. As a general rule we would advise people to leave them well alone, unless injured, on a busy dog walking path or out in the open away from trees.  Rightly though the passing member of the public was concerned that a dog might injury this owl and called for help and advice.

Rescuers Kelly and Brent visited the site and liaised with Trevor Weeks MBE Operations Director of East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service over the best approach.

The pathway was clearly too busy for the youngster to be left on the ground where found.  Rescuers were advised that they didn’t need to look for the nest but a suitable tree 5-10 metres from the pathway where the young bird would be safer and could be placed up in a tree high off the ground.

Whilst looking for a suitable tree to place the owlet, rescuers noticed another owlet, and then an adult sleeping in another tree.

Just a short distance away from mum was a twisted tree with a suitable large enough branch for the youngster to be placed.  Using a ladder Brent was able to place the bird back up on the branch to safety.

Once dark and the mum and youngsters become more lively they will start calling to each other and mum will visit her young dotted around in different trees.

It is possible the bird will come back down the tree trunk and that is normal. These birds have little smell to them so if they hide and sit still most predators won't even notice them.

“Its very easy to want to wrap our wildlife up and bring them into captivity thinking this is the best and safest course of action. But it isn’t necessarily the best option.  Any young wildlife which comes into care will have a reduced change of survival on release because they are not with their parents. The best option is always for them to stay with their parents where possible.  There are no guarantees that this one will stay safe, but then, there isn’t if it came in to care and was released eventually,” said Trevor Weeks.

Trevor praised the actions and dedication of the Brighton volunteers for their compassion and efforts to get the birds back home.

Brighton & Hove Wildlife Advice & Rescue Service can be supported at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lisa-barrow-229?utm_term=dMngKz9JV

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service can be supported at: www.wildlifeambulance.org

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