What to do if you find an “Orphaned” Owlet
Many young birds disperse from their nest long before they can fly. This is refered to as “branching”. It prevents overcrowding at the nest as the chicks grow and is Nature’s way of ensuring against threats to the whole brood from predators.
Many of these birds are considered orphaned when actually they are simply testing their wings. Young birds often lose their footing during these early explorations and fall to the ground. A chick on the ground looks lost and vulnerable but most probably its parents know exactly where it is and will continue to feed it. Many young birds of prey are quite capable of climbing back up a tree using claws and beak.
Step 1: The first thing you must do is check if the youngster is obviously injured in some way. If the answer is YES then follow the instruction for “Injured Birds of Prey”.
Step 2: Next check if the chick is in danger from vehicles, people or predators. If the answer is YES place the chick in the branches of a nearby shrub or tree and leave the area.
Step 3: If the answer to both these questions is NO then just walk away quietly and let nature take its course. Only ever remove a bird from the area if you are positive it is injured or has clearly been abandoned. Do not attempt to treat or feed the bird your self. Seek expert advice. It is very easy to imprint a young bird of prey on humans and this will render it incapable of being returned to the wild where it truly belongs.