‘Obese’ owl rescued after being too fat to fly

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While for many of us keeping in a good shape becomes harder and harder, given the nowadays lifestyle, we cannot say the same about the wildlife. Or can we? Well, apparently a “soggy” bird got rescued after it turned out she was too fat to fly.

When a landowner, in England, first spotted the owl it was lying in a ditch. Assuming it might be injured, the man took the bird to the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary. After further examination staff at the sanctuary realized the ‘little one’ was actually a little bit too chunky.

“Usually in these instances we assume injury of sorts that is preventing the owl from flying – occasionally becoming wet causes them to become grounded too,” the group wrote in Facebook post. “So you can imagine our surprise that when we examined her, we found her to simply be extremely obese.”

While in normal circumstances these type of owls usually weigh around 3 ounces, the one rescued was weighing almost 9 ounces. Given that, “she was unable to fly effectively due to the fatty deposits around her body,” according to the rescue team.

According to Rufus Samkin, head falconer at the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary, the region where the bird was rescued had been crawling with mice, so it’s pretty easy to understand why the bird started to gain weight!

 

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This soggy little owl was found in a ditch. Usually in these instances we assume injury that is preventing the owl from flying – occasionally becoming wet causes them to become grounded too – so you can imagine our surprise that when we examined her, we found her to simply be extremely obese! Upon weighing her, she was a rather chunky 245g (which is roughly a third heaver than a large healthy female little owl) and she was unable to fly effectively due to the fatty deposits. This is unusual for wild birds to get into this condition, so we needed to investigate some obvious scenarios – the first being that she was possibly an escaped aviary bird. Sadly there was no indication of rings or chip identification. We decided to observe the bird over a period of weeks for signs of a life in captivity. Familiarity with foods used in aviaries such as bright yellow chicks (which won’t often be found naturally in the English countryside) are a telltale sign. Luckily, there were no giveaway signs as she was readily taking more wild food types such as dark mice, so we are confident this may just be an unusual case of natural obesity! We also found that the area where she was rescued was crawling with field mice and voles due to the warm and wet winter we experienced in December. She has since spent a few weeks with us under observation and been placed on a strict diet. We can now happily say she has trimmed down to a more natural weight for release. . . . . . #suffolkowlsanctuary #owlsanctuary #animalsanctuary #suffolkwildlife #owl #buzzard #eagle #hawk #kestrel #meerkat #redsquirrel #conservation #wildlifeconservation #wildliferescue #animalrescue #birdsofprey #animalrehabilitation #suffolk #falconry

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“We think she’s just done incredibly well for herself and overindulged,” Mr. Samkin told BBC. “Hopefully, she’s learnt to keep her weight in trim so she can escape any predators or being picked up.”

h/t: Facebook