Rescued barn owl chicks bounce back, ready for release into the wild

Rescued barn owl chicks bounce back, ready for release into the wild

Rescued barn owl chicks bounce back, ready for release into the wild

Updated 30 August 2017, 12:50 AEST

Six tiny barn owls rescued from a damaged nest a month ago are flourishing and almost ready to take flight again.

When a local farmer near Auburn, north of Adelaide, spotted six tiny barn owls bunkered down in a partially destroyed nest, hopes weren't high for their survival.

A large branch near the nest had fallen, exposing it to weather and predators.

The farmer dutifully fetched a ladder, collected the chicks and handed them to a local animal carer.

But the carer was faced with more than she could cope with, so Minton Farm Animal Rescue Centre was contacted — some 120 kilometres away.

"She didn't want to take on six feisty little ones with pointy bits at both ends," centre manager Bev Langley said.

With no way to pick up the animals, Ms Langley put out a call for help via their Facebook page.

By the end of the afternoon Ms Langley said she had the six chicks in the centre's intensive care rooms.

"When they were tiny I had to chop up their food and feed them with tweezers," she said.

"I made a glove puppet that looked like an owl so that they didn't imprint to me."

Ms Langley said by using the puppet, the owls would not associate humans with food and would have a better chance of survival in the wild.

She and volunteers at the centre have been caring for the chicks for the past four weeks.

"We think they were about three or four weeks [old] when we got them," she said.

Now the chicks are feeding independently.

"They are all absolutely flourishing, they are all eating like mad," Ms Langley said.

With no larger pens to move the birds into, Ms Langley said they would soon be returned to the farm where they were found for release.

"The drawback with this pen is they can't do more than a couple of wing beats," she said.

Ms Langley said she was confident the owl chicks would reunite with their parents when taken back to the farm.

She said she was waiting for the farmer to return to the property where the chicks were found so they could pinpoint the location of their nest.

They will then be all set for a night release.