Another couple of busy days, with a lot of time spent trying to reunite 3 tawny owl chicks with their mum. The chicks were found by a dog walker, beside a building at an outdoor activity centre. They were on the ground, alone, and very obvious with their pale grey down. After collecting the chicks we went to see the site where they had been found. There were no pellets and no droppings. There were open windows in the building, and also a chimney vent that looked an inviting place for a tawny owl. There was no-one at the centre, but we did see a tawny owl, fly from where the chicks had been.
This morning we contacted the centre, made up a nest box, and hoped to put this in a nearby tree. Of course we would have to check that the owl returned to her chicks. On this visit we met centre staff, who assured us that the owl had nested on the ground, next to the building. While incubating she was well camouflaged, but now that the chciks were older, and she was spending less time with them, they were vulnerable to predators. Also the centre is used by groups of children at the weekends, and disturbance seemed inevitable.
Reluctantly we brought the chicks back to Hessilhead. We know we can rear then here, and return them to the wild. Sadly the tawny has lost her family, but will hopefully find a better safer nest site next time.
We have another tawny chick that was found at the roadside near Lochwinnoch. This chick is too young to be out of the nest, and is underweight. Cat victims have joined our youngsters feeding round, there is a juvenile house sparrow, song thrush and more blackbirds. Three baby rabbits are being hand reared. Rabbits are tricky youngsters, often developing problems at weaning age. These youngsters are eating lots of vegetation now, that is a good sign.