Just before Christmas, we found a poorly and weak looking owl sitting in a field. Damian collected it up, put it in his lunch box and bought it back to the farm. I contacted our electrical engineer Peter, who by day looks after local companies’ machines, and when not working is a registered rehabilitation keeper of birds of prey. Peter has been looking after injured birds of prey and other wildlife for many years. He takes birds from the RSPB, local vets and others, purely on a voluntary basis, for the love of rehabilitating wild animals. Now the owl flies again.
I took the owl to Peter, which we had identified as a male Long Eared Owl (Asio otus). These are a medium sized nocturnal and secretive owl. They are rare in the UK with between 1,500 and 4,700 pairs. They are also extremely beautiful with the easily recognised long tufts of head feathers looking like ears (but not), and deep orange eyes.
Ollie, as he was named, had been run over by a vehicle, suffered a broken pelvis, lost the use of his legs, as well as some of his tail feathers, and had just about given up the will to live. He was given the correct medicines, and hand fed for the first week. After a few weeks he was back to full health, and ready to return to the wild.
One evening at dusk we took him back the field and released him. He flew off into a nearby hedge, had a little look around, before flying off into the increasing darkness. I haven’t seen any sign of him since, which is apparently a good sign. Well done Peter, another success story and happy patient.