Categories
Birding Blog

Baby Owls: All You Need To Know 2022

In the Aves world, baby owls are one of the most adorable creatures. Baby owls are called owlets. However, they’re also one of the least understood birds.

There’re some myths about them too. This article will discuss all you need to know about baby owls.

From hatching, food habits, leaving the nest, to learning to hunt prey – during each of the steps, you’ll witness some unique behavioral traits in baby owls.

Although owls are found in the wild as they stay away from humans, you may witness one if you live around a mature forest landscape. And if you see them, it’s better to understand their habits to cope with the situation or help them out.

This article will give all the information about newborn owls. Read along to learn more.

How Many Babies Do Owls Have at Once?

Owls are monogamous, meaning they pair up with a single partner in the breeding season. However, some owl species don’t have this trait, and can mate with multiple owls throughout their lifespan. Also, factors like food scarcity and prey can sometimes cause owls to find new partners.

Many people think that owls only have one baby during the breeding season, but that’s not true. Owls can lay up to 13 eggs a year; 1-4 white eggs are usually laid at once.

During the reproduction phase or breeding season, female owls take care of hatching the eggs. The hatching process may take up to 14-15 days. On the other hand, male owls are responsible for hunting prey and sourcing food for their mate.

 

How Long Do Baby Owls Stay in The Owl Nest?

Where most birds have a tendency to stay longer in the nest or with their flock, owl babies stay a short time with their family.

In general, owlets stay in the nest for 6 weeks. Owl parents provide shelter and food for their owlets for up to 10-12 weeks. Within this period, owlets become independent and learn to fly and hunt prey.

 

Do Owls Live in the Same Tree Nest Whole Life?

As owls are not good at building their own nest, they try to settle in one they’ve created for a long time. And they usually don’t create a nestlike other birds. They prefer using a tree branch, platforms, or tree cavity as their nest for more secure accommodation.

Most of the owl species don’t switch to new nests. Only the baby owls switch to a new one during mating season. However, Great Horned owls shift to a new nest after 1 year.

 

What Do I Need to Know About Baby Owls?

Owls are maybe one of the most interesting creatures of nature. Even if considering the behavior and appearance of owls, you’ll see unique features that are not common in other Aves.

 

Different Owl Species

There’re over 100 different species of owls in the world, though all owls are classified into two families – Tytonidae and Strigidae.

Tytonidae includes the most common owl species such as barn owls, Madagascar, African Grass, Eastern Grass, Sulawesi Masked, Lesser Sooty, etc.

On the flip side, the Northern Saw-Whet Owls, Barred, Wood, Albertine, Eastern Screech-Owls, BanggaiScopsm, Biak Scops, and Short-eared owl fall in the Strigidae category.

These enigmatic creatures vary greatly in size and shape, but all possess similar character traits.

 

What Does a Baby Owl Look Like?

Newborn owls are small and fluffy, with soft downy feathers or plumage. They’ve dark eyes and a tuft of hair on top of their head. Unlike other baby birds, owlets have long beaks. These help them while eating.

The baby owl’s eyes are big and tubular eyes and long eyelashes that help protect them from the sun. They usually have a cordiform face. Also, the female owlets have brown feathers around their facial disc.

 

How Big Are Baby Owls?

If you’ve found an owl and don’t know about her age, you can get an idea by measuring its size and weight.

Baby owls could be as small as 1.5 inches to 2 inches tall when they’re born. Some owl species can also be 3 inches tall at birth. The weight of a newborn owl is typically about 40-60g.

By the end of 2nd week, owlets can size up to 2.1 inches and weigh up to 165g. After 21 days, you’ll start noticing little-grown feathers on their body. During this time, they’ll size around 3.6-inch and weigh up to 239g.

Owlets are considered babies during the first 56 days. And by then, an owl baby, especially Barn owls, can grow up to 260mm or 10.3-inch and weigh around 387g.

 

What to Feed Baby Owls?

They’re birds of prey. Owls are obligate carnivores and need to eat meat to survive. Baby owls may be able to digest plant matter, but they don’t have the enzymes necessary to break down complex proteins found in plants.

So, baby owls’ diets should consist mostly of meat! They eat a variety of small animals, including mice, lizards, snakes, frogs, and even other birds. Poultry chicks and mice are a good source of meat for owlets.

In general, owls can eat up to 20% of their body weight. For example, they can eat up to 5 mice or chicks per day. You can collect them from pet shops. But make sure to defrost the food before serving.

 

How Long Do Owls Take to Learn to Fly?

Baby owls can’t fly, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get around. These little birds have a wingspan of only about 2 inches, but they are able to glide and even flap their broad wings to stay aloft.

They also use their beaks and talons to cling to surfaces and move around. It may take up to 5 weeks to try their first flight.

 

9 Interesting Facts About Owls!

They’re one of the most popular birds in the world and for good reasons. These enigmatic creatures are amazingly adaptable and capable of thriving in various habitats. Here’re nine fascinating facts about owls you may not have known –

1.     Nocturnal Vision

Owls can see better in the complete darkness than most other animals. They have nocturnal vision and use their eyes to locate prey. So, they’re more sensitive to light.

2.     Long Lifespan

Owls can live up to 20 years in the wild and as many as fifty years in captivity.

3.     Can Rotate Head In 360-degree

They can rotate their head 360-degree front to back. And they can move it upside down at around 270-degrees. It allows them to keep an all-around look and be aware of other predators.

4.     Extremely Sensitive Hearing

They find prey by sound. Using their highly sensitive hearing, they can detect the faintest of sounds and distinguish between different sound types.

5.     Unique Communication Skills

Owls use both body language and facial expression to communicate with their mates.

6.     Webbed Feet

Some owls in North America, such as the Great Horned, Barn owls, Snowy, and Flammulated species, have webbed feet, which helps them glide on ice and snow.

7.     Don’t Have Syrinx

Owls are one of only two species in the order Strigiformes that don’t have a syrinx, the other being the kiwi. Instead, they use their vocal tracts to produce sound.

8.     Responsible Behavior

Females are larger than males in most owl species and have a longer period of parental care; the male provides food for the female during incubation, but after that, she actively hunts prey for herself.

9.     Slow Flight Bird

Owls are also known for their slow flight. They can have a larger wingspan than maximum birds. Some owls, like the Barn owls, have a wingspan that’s 3x as large as their body mass. As a result, Barn owls fly slowly, averaging only 2 mph. This slow speed helps them conserve energy.

 

How Owls Fly Silently?

Baby Owls

Krista Le Piane, from the University of California, North America, has been studying owls for years. According to her research, owls reduce locomotion-induced sound.

They’ve got a suite of wing and feather features, allowing them to fly silently and avoid predators. Their wings are curved so that they can “flap” less, which reduces the noise generated when they move through the air.

Additionally, their soft feathers are arranged in such a way that they create an acoustic barrier around their bodies. This prevents sound from traveling beyond their wings and into the air. Krista says that these features make owls some of the most successful aerial predators out there.

 

Can I Pet Baby Owls?

You can’t ignore the cuteness of baby owls. And the good part is owls can be good pets, but there’re multiple reasons why you shouldn’t pet an owl.

Carnivores Pets Means Costly

As mentioned earlier, meat is a vital part of their diet. It may not sound like a serious issue, but feeding costly food for 360 days in a row isn’t as easy as it seems. Therefore, carnivores’ pets aren’t affordable to maintain, and you’ll face the same issue with owls as well.

Owls Require Space

Petting owls isn’t like parrots. They need plenty of aviary settings. Also, the cage should be made out of thicker wire, unlike regular cages. Otherwise, owls can easily break and run away.

 

Regulation on Petting Owl

In the recent pet regulation by International Owl Center, USA, petting owls is strictly prohibited by individual owners.

You can pet an owl only if you or someone in your family is a certified pet trainer. The regulation also stated that you could only pet owls for education purposes.

Owls Are Nocturnal

Following their nature, owls are habituated to doing activities at night. They often create noise during these off-hours. So, it may not be comfortable for your neighbors or your families.

 

What Do You Do If You Find a Baby Little Owl?

Although they’re wild, owlets require serious care to survive during the early stage. Remember, owl parents don’t leave their babies. If you find one be sure that the mother or father will get back to them at any time.

But you should check whether the owlet is injured or starving. If you encounter any emergency, take the necessary steps to find first aid or food for them. Try to stay near where you’ve found them to see whether the parents are back or not.

If you’re not capable of doing anything or can’t see owl parents after a while, try reaching out to the nearest pet center. They’ll rescue them and take the necessary steps to save the owls.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1.     Do owls eat cats?

Yes, they do eat cats. So, be careful when petting owls in your home if you already have a pet cat.

2.     Do baby owls flock together?

Not all owl species flock together. You may see Tawny and Burrowing owls flocking together at some time of the year.

3.     What do you call a group of baby owls?

A group of owls is called broods or parliament. And a group of baby owls is called broods or parliament of owlets.

4.     How do baby owls learn to hunt prey?

Unlike other Aves, owls are self-taught hunters. Owl parents do a common practice –they feed baby owls in less amount after the 12th week of owlets’ birth. They also leave the nest during the day to starve the owlets. Then the owlets begin to try hunting on their own.

5.     Why do baby owls make noise?

Owls use a set of sounds like whistling and shrieking for different purposes. However, they scream mainly to attract attention. Usually, baby owls make noises when starving and asking for food.

On the contrary, adult owls scream when warning or scaring other animals or defending their own nest.

 

Editor’s Verdict

If you’re interested in raising one as your pet, there’re a few things you need to know. First, baby owls are very active during the dark and need plenty of stimulation.

Second, they’re not very big when they first hatch, so they require a lot of care and attention.

Third, be prepared to spend a lot of money on food and supplies for your owl.

Before deciding to get an owlet, make sure to check out the owl pet regulation in your state, as some regions in the world restrict owl petting, such as Central America and South America.

Hopefully, this article helped you learn all you need to know about baby owls. Baby owls are undoubtedly one of the cutest Aves you’ll ever see.

Read Also: 

By Nathan Moy

Hi, Nathan Moy is the founder and CEO of Birdmoy.com . Im passionate about nature and I use this site as a platform to share my experiences, learnings, mistakes, and ideas about birding and nature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Pin It on Pinterest