Our Birds of Prey
Most of the birds of prey in this section could not be returned to the wild because of their injuries. Kestrels are regular traffic casualties because they like to hunt over roadside verges.
This small, slender falcon can give the appearance of a large swift when in flight due to its long tail and scythe like wings. Built for speed and agility the Hobby catches it’s prey by out-manoeuvring it. Interestingly the Hobby does not build it’s own nest but lays eggs in nests vacated by other species.
Barn owls are also frequent road accident victims. Fortunately, most of those that survive the initial collision do recover and can then be released. However, barn owls are very long lived so even with only an occasional disabled bird, after 30 years of caring for them, we now have a large number needing sanctuary here. Tawny owls are much more likely to hunt amongst trees than along roads so even though they outnumber barn owls in Britain by 10:1 we only get the occasional road casualty.
Tawny owls nestlings are a different matter. Their habit of leaving the nest before they can fly would not normally matter in dense woodland but in this world full of dogs, cats and very little cover, they are frequently found and brought to us for care. Despite all the hazards it is still probably best to leave any young bird alone and in the case of tawny owls, if you decide to intervene, there is the added risk of being attacked by an angry parent.
European eagle owls are the largest owls found in the UK being up to 70cm in length with a wingspan of 140 to 170cm. The Eagle Owls found in the UK are most likely individuals which have escaped from private collections, although some could have flown over from the continent. Fossil records suggest that Eagle Owls were present in the UK at the end of the last ice age. As these birds live to about forty five, produce one or two chicks a year, and have no natural enemies in the UK (other than man) these numbers are likely to increase.
Also know as the Tibet Owl, Little Owl is more active during the day than most other species of owl. Unusually, given the carnivorous diet of owls, they have been known to take grasses, leaves, and occasionally fruits, berries and maze. Little Owls are also known to hoard food for later consumption.