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The arrival of a white Little Owl Orphan

Please scoll down for updatesLast updated: Saturday 15th July 2006
A Wild young Little Owl was brought in on the 23rd June 2006 & on seeing this youngster we were taken aback by its colour & facial difference to a normal youngster.
Web Cams To see the white Little Owl live via a web cam CLICK HERE

Sponsorship. If you would like to support & sponsor this beautiful looking White Little Owl or Bobby who is his caring foster mum, please CLICK HERE
When viewing the above cam link, please note that there are 5 other Owlets there, these will sometimes be in the way of the white Little Owl. Be patient & he will appear at the front.

Cam 1 shows the inside of the nest box where they are & Cam 2 shows the entrance of the nest box from the outside.
NEWS STORY & UPDATE: Tuesday 27th June 2006

The 6 young wild Little Owls, which include the White Little Owlet seen on the web cam, are with us because of the problems they had encountered in the wild.
Every year the Barn Owl Centre works with Vale Wildlife Rescue. Together we do our utmost to help get sick and orphaned Owls and Birds of Prey safely back to the wild.
Under normal circumstances it is common practice to leave young Owlets well alone because their parents are usually not that far away. Sometimes there are difficulties encountered - especially when it's discovered that the parents have been hit by traffic or the young have been abandoned because of lack of food. If we deal with a situation where we are sure the young will perish then we will act for welfare reasons.

At the Barn Owl Centre we are lucky enough to have the help of Bobby – an adult Little Owl. She happily takes on the task of fostering Little Owl orphans. In this way the owlets are able to maintain their wild identity as human intervention can be minimised. The more human contact the owlets have, the less their chances of being released and surviving in the wild. Our role is a simple one - provide Bobby with enough food so she can feed her fostered brood! To see this take place under the watchful eye of the camera and to share this experience with those who visit our web site gives us great pleasure. We hope you are enjoying what we are seeing.

(Tuesday 27th June 2006) Today is an important day! The decision needs to be made whether this rare and unique white Little Owl is fit for release into the wild or if it would be safer and more humane to keep him in captivity.

The result! It was decided that the Owlet was not fit for release so for welfare reasons it will be kept in captivity. Being white was not in the Owlets favour. Added to which the Owlets small and closely set eyes leave him with much poorer eyesight than that of his cousins. Because of these genetic differences between this owl and his wild counterparts, if released to the wild the youngster would simply not survive and would be easy prey for other predators.

Independent Consultants were
Great Western Referrals. Avian Specialists - Neil Forbes BVetMed, CBiol, MIBiol, Dip ECAMS, FRCVS, RCVS Recognised Specialist Zoo Animal and Wildlife Medicine (Avian) European Veterinary Specialist Avian Medicine and Surgery
Colin Shawyer: Advisor & Specialist in Owl Conservation.
DEFRA. Wildlife Department

With the decision now made (with help from the above consultants) we at the Barn Owl Centre will make it our job to give this delightful White Little Owl a good life in captivity. He can stay in the same aviary as his foster mum “Bobby”. You never know, he might give Bobby a helping hand next year when new orphans arrive; sometimes it is better to have two parents that foster than just the one.
The White Little Owl has been given a name, which is “ASHLEY” he will soon be undertaking a training program to enable him to fit in with the activities our other birds work to. By being trained he can be flown outside the aviary, this is much better than being permanently kept locked up. Our charities main Aims & Objectives are simply - Educational Conservation & Bird Welfare.

Now back to the five remaining Little Owl orphans
These 5 youngsters will leave the web cam aviary in the first few weeks of July after they become a bit more independent. They will be transported to another aviary tucked in the countryside at one of our project sites. Once there, they will stay in the aviary for a few weeks so they can acclimatise to a wild environment. The next step will be to gently release them back into the wild by lowering the feeding hatch. When lowered they will be observed leaving. For the next week food will be left in the aviary on a daily basis just in case they need it.

Past experiences has shown that on release the owls will return to the aviary for a short period. It is for this reason that a backup of food is left for them.
Update on the Little Owl Orphans: Thursday 15th July 2006All wild Little Owl orphans minus Ashley were taken to the release aviary on the afternoon of Thursday 13th July 2006 for the next stage of their journey back to the wild. They will stay in the release aviary for about a fort-night before the feeding hatch is eventually lowered to provide them with their freedom.
For the wild orphans & ourselves today was a great day all round but for poor Little Bobby, the young she had been fostering have been taken away from her for the purpose of getting them back to the wild. Let’s just hope Bobby & Ashley support each other from this day on.
Little Owl pre- release filmed by BBC Countryfile
The pre-release stage was filmed by the BBC & should be shown on BBC Countryfile on Sunday 6th August 2006; this is the date we have been given. If the date changes I will update it here.
A special thanks to those who have been following this story of the young Little Owls & Ashley the White Little Owl & most important Bobby the Foster Mum.

If you wish to offer support to our work please CLICK HERE

Thank You
Vincent Jones
Centre Director/Conservation Officer
The Barn Owl Centre
Tel: 01452 383999
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The Barn Owl Centre is a registered charity dedicated to community education, conservation and bird welfare
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