Opinion Former Article

RSPCA: Owl babies in care - young tawny numbers up by a third

A wildlife centre has seen an influx of tawny owlets brought to them for care this year - up by a third on last year.

Between January and the end of July there were 33 of the baby birds taken to RSPCA West Hatch wildlife centre in Somerset for care.  For the same period the year before there were 22.

It is not known for definite what could have caused this rise, but it is thought the topsy- turvy weather conditions and some extremely windy days through the spring and summer could have contributed.

Peter Venn, manager of the centre, said: “We’ve seen so many of these cute bundles of fluff in this year. It’s hard to know for sure why but it could well be the windy days we have been having could be knocking them off their perch, or causing them issues.

“Sometimes they may have been found at the bottom of the tree and mistakenly picked up by people thinking they need help. In reality tawny owlets can climb trees, so may have been able to find their way back to their nest on their own without interference.

“The good news is that the vast majority have recovered well in our care and been returned happily to the wild.”

Most of the baby owls brought into the centre were found on the ground, on some occasions described as being cold and water-logged.

Every year the RSPCA issues a warning to think twice and seek advice’ before assuming baby animals found in the wild are in need of rescue. Often well-meaning people mistakenly think the best thing is to pick young animals on their own up and rescue them, but often they would have a greater chance of survival if left where they are.

In the case of tawny owls, so long as it is not injured or in danger the best thing to do with any youngster found on the ground is put it at the bottom of the tree where its nest is. The little birds can actually climb trees by themselves.

Notes to editors

—  Images and interviews are available on request


RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9RS
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Duty press officer (evenings and weekends) Tel 08448 222888 and ask for pager number 828825
Email: press@rspca.org.uk Website: www.rspca.org.uk

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