Recovering owls bring up brood at Sculthorpe reserve

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Two young barn owls, who were nursed back to health at a West Norfolk wildlife centre, are now bringing up chicks at the reserve where they were released.

The pair were handed into the RSPCA’s East Winch centre last summer, having apparently fallen from their nests.

After being nursed back to health, they were released at the Sculthorpe Moor reserve, near Fakenham, in the autumn.

A clutch of chicks were found to have hatched in their nest last month and were old enough to be ringed last week.

Reserve manager Nigel Middleton said: “One of the challenges facing rehabilitated and released barn owls is the danger of starvation during the critical first weeks as the birds learn about the area they have been released in, and where best to hunt for food.

“Due to the amazing generosity of our visitors, we were able to provide supplementary food for the four young birds during this difficult time.

“As the winter progressed the birds relied more and more on their own ability to hunt and this nest proves that not only had the birds settled into their environment fully, but that they had developed enough skills to be able to provide for a growing family.”

East Winch centre manager Alison Charles said: “We are very grateful to the Hawk and Owl Trust for their help with the rehabilitated owls and pleased to hear they have integrated well and are surviving”.