Over the last few years at Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve, we have been a staging post for people finding injured birds of prey, although the trust is not a rescue organisation we have had several different birds dropped into the Visitor Centre, from Tawny Owls to Red Kites. For example In September we had a phone call from a worker on the Murdoch Platform gas rig in the North Sea, they had found an injured Kestrel and needed advice on how to look after it which was freely given, a week later the bird was brought ashore by helicopter and our conservation officer collected it from Norwich airport, assisted by Jan Smith a Sculthorpe Moor Volunteer who also volunteers for the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Hospital as a wildlife collector she also collects all of our injured Birds of prey and takes them there.
In August on separate occasions we had 2 young Barn Owl fledglings brought to the reserve underweight and dehydrated, our normal response would be to return these birds back to their nest but both of these birds had fledged prematurely from nest cavity’s in old farm buildings and where difficult to place back, unfortunately if you’re a barn owl chick and leave the nest early and land on the floor then I’m afraid mum and dad will ignore you and leave you to perish. The Chicks were collected by Jan and cared for by the RSPCA wildlife hospital, on October 24th some 10 weeks later, they returned to Sculthorpe where the volunteers had built some temporary accommodation to enable these young barn Owl chicks to be released back to the wild (see photo) these were accompanied by 2 other barn owl chicks that had been handed directly to the hospital so now we have 4 (OOPS!!) The plan is to keep these birds confined in their new abode for 7-10 days giving them a regular feed of Dark mice which cost 38p each doesn’t sound a lot but the 4 off them will consume about 3 each per day and they will eat around 250 while they are confined in their release accommodation, this is much closer to their natural diet rather than using day old chicks.
Over the next few weeks we shall be given updates on their progress including when they will be released.