Tawny Owl Chicks

Nov. 2017

A few pictures of some Tawny owl chicks we have rehabilitated over the years, showing our husbandry for wild owlets.

It is perfectly normal for Tawny chicks to ‘branch out’ from their nests. Unless they are in direct danger, they should be left well alone. Parent birds will feed them, Tawny owls are very vocal and finding each other is no challenge.
Chicks which are covered in a white down are under 3 weeks of age. At this age they need to be fed hand. Of course this cannot be done by human hand as this would cause imprinting, which is not only illegal but will render the chick unable to be returned to the wild.
Therefore we use a Tawny owl wing, with tweezers poked through, in order to feed the chick without it seeing humans.

From 4 weeks of age, the chick can fed itself and is moved from one box to another via a partition, where the food is already present, again avoiding human contact.

Once almost fledged, the chick moves into a secluded aviary, food is delivered via a feed shoot. Usually there are other young owls for it to join.

Once the chicks are hard penned (fully feathered) and flying around the aviary well, they are moved to a hack site in order to prepare for release.

Once at the hack site, they become accustomed to the aviary, territory and will eventually be released from here on soft release. This means they are free but will return to the aviary for food.
Return visits can be monitored but sadly amateur photographers usually end up with a blurry , night time shot!