Influx of baby owls at RSPCA centre in East Winch

Trio of Tawny owls at RSPCA East Winch. Photo: SUBMITTED.
Trio of Tawny owls at RSPCA East Winch. Photo: SUBMITTED.

Officials at a West Norfolk wildlife centre are having a hoot after a surge of baby owls have come into their care.

More than 30 owlets are currently being looked after at the RSPCA’s East Winch wildlife centre – they are part of the 643 wild mammals and birds that are being cared for there at the moment.

Every summer, injured, orphaned and abandoned juvenile creatures flood into the centres.

Young owls are no exception and so far this year, East Winch has looked after an abundance of tawny, barn and little owlets.

Alison Charles, manager of the RSPCA’s East Winch wildlife centre, said: “We’re looking after 32 young owls at the moment.

“The youngsters have been admitted for a variety of reasons including being caught in netting, being emaciated and riddled with flies and maggots.

“We need to help them recover from their injuries or weakness and then build them up in preparation for return to the wild.”

On arrival to the centre, the owlets are fed tiny pieces of chopped chick and small bits are left in their cage to encourage them to eat on their own.

Mrs Charles said: “These owlets may look cute, but it’s important to remember they’re wild birds of prey.

Once they are able to feed themselves, contact is reduced with them so they do not ‘imprint’ on humans.

Mrs Charles added: “That’s the best way to make sure they’ll cope when they return to the wild.”

As well as the young owls, East Winch wildlife centre is currently looking after more than 170 ducklings, 41 gulls, 56 hedgehogs, 35 swans and 200 fledging birds.

If you see an animal you have concerns about after observing it for some time, call the RSPCA’s emergency line on 0300 1234 99.

If you would like to help raise funds to support the vital work carried out by the centre, you can visit their Amazon site to purchase animal care products, at: www.amazon.co.uk/gp/registry/wishlist/2QW97YL6JNRPQ.

If you would like to help RSPCA East Winch wildlife centre continue rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing wildlife, you can support them by donating £3 by texting RSPCA3 to 70007. Texts cost £3 plus a standard network rate.

The centre will be hosting an open day on Sunday, July 23 from 10am until 4pm.