Herronfield Tales

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Little “Sollie” – our coffee cup owlet

In June I was brought a baby 5-6 week old Tawny owl which had fallen out of it’s nest. It still had all it’s downy feathers, soft like cotton woll, essential to retain warmth when babies are alone in the nest whilst the mother hunts.

Food was cut into tiny bits to feed the baby owlet using tweezers, replicating the way he’d have been fed by his mother.

After 2 weeks he fed himself and in a further few weeks began tearing meat up. The little fella was over the worst, as this was an essential requirement to independent living. Something owls do is regurgitate pellets of undigested foor made up of fur, feather and bones, similar to a cat throwing up fur balls. Their natural food is mice, voles and small invertebrates.

By the end of summer his adult feathers arrived so he could fly. I put him into an aviary with an older disabled Tawny owl for company. In no time the two were sitting side by side on the perch twittering to each other. Tawny had been brought into me after a buzzard had attacked him in Temple Balsall. Because of his wounds, he had been hit by a car.

When all Sollie’s down had been replaced the decision was made to go for release back to the wild.

We try to return our recovered creatures close to where we found them but when Sollie first arrived, he was so tiny he’d have fit into a coffee cup so there was no instictive connection to a specific location. We did a ‘soft’ release one evening in Novemeber for Heronfield. He is still fed every evening on top of the aviary where he returns for a free mean and to be close to Tawny.

Written by Mitch Withey

Heronfield Animal Rescue Centre, a non profit organisation, welcomes visitors. There are tea rooms, a small shop and lots to see. Check on-line for visiting times and directions: www.heronfieldark.org.uk