Baby owls hand-reared at a bird centre… while their parents perform in a FLYING SQUAD

June 13, 2013 | by | 0 Comments

This fluffy foursome are being hand-reared by staff at a bird centre while their parents are busy performing in a flying squad.

The three-week-old Little Owl quadruplets are the latest arrivals at an animal sanctuary, where they are enjoying round-the-clock support from a team of dedicated carers.

Fed on a diet of mice and day-old chicks, the fab four appear healthy and active, with two of them expected to join their parents in the centre’s educational display team.

Four Little Owl chicks which are being hand reared at The Scottish Owl Centre in Polkemmet Country Park, West Lothian

Four Little Owl chicks which are being hand reared at The Scottish Owl Centre in Polkemmet Country Park, West Lothian

Rod Angus, 53, who runs the Scottish Owl Centre in West Lothian with wife Niccy, explained how raising them in captivity lets the birds get off to a flying start.

He said: “Sometimes owls will kill their own offspring, so this way we offer a system of protection.

“To be in the flying team, they need to be accustomed to being around human beings.

“We raise them together with their parents because they learn that they are an owl with other owls but also that they do not have anything to be afraid of when around humans.”

The centre runs visits for local schoolchildren and the flying squad recruits will be used to teach them about important environmental and conservation issues.

But for the meantime, the bundles of fluff are receiving round-the-clock care.

Rod said: “They are being kept by our senior keeper, who sometimes even takes the birds home with him.

“They need fed around the clock and with four little hungry mouths to feed there is always work to be done.

“They grow quite quickly and they will all reach full adult size within three months of their lives.”

He added: “As a breed they are quite active. They can be seen out during the day and always seem to be bopping around.

“These four won’t stay still. They are like little clockwork toys and always seem to want to hide under one another.

“We won’t be releasing these birds back into to the wild as it is unlikely they would survive.

“Instead two will be joining our squad here with the other two going on to similar centres elsewhere in the country.”

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