Exhausted migrant released on Sculthorpe Moor reserve
A short-eared owl found exhausted in Norfolk needed a helping hand after its journey from Scandinavia. The Hawk and Owl Trust was contacted when the owl was found some distance inland from the sea, unable to fly any further. The owl was examined and found to be uninjured but exhausted and in need of food.
Although the Hawk and Owl Trust is not a rescue organisation Nigel Middleton, Hawk and Owl Trust Conservation Officer for the Eastern Region, has many years of experience helping wild birds of prey.
Nigel took the owl in to feed it and give it time to recover. The owl was then released at the Hawk and Owl Trust’s Sculthorpe Moor Community Nature Reserve near Fakenham in the Wensum valley, which provides the sort of hunting habitat the owl will need over the winter.
These beautiful birds can be recognised by their striking yellow eyes and the short feather tufts on the top of their heads that give them their name. The tufts are not actually ears. Their real ears are hidden under feathers on the side of the head. Short-eared owls are active during the day and can be seen using their long wings to fly over rough grassland hunting for small mammal prey. Some short-eared owls breed in the UK, mainly in the north, but their population can greatly increase in winter. In some years large numbers migrate from Scandinavia.
This year has seen many short eared-owls arriving in Norfolk, where they can be seen along the North Norfolk coast and further inland.