BENGALURU: Do not be alarmed if you spot a barn owl hatchling in your house or your surroundings. The period from mid October to December is barn owl hatchling season. However, when people spot these owls they panic as they see it as a bad omen. So they tend to drive them away by throwing stones at it or by attacking it.
Recently a Barn owl fledgling that was struggling to move was spotted by a wildlife rescuer Karthik of People for Animals (PfA) Wildlife hospital and rescue centre. He spotted the owl in between the compounds of two adjacent buildings and saw the owl had a fractured wing. He then took the barn owl to the hospital, but the bird died. A post-mortem was carried out and the reports revealed that the barn owl
had an internal head injury.
Senior veterinarian Dr Karthik from PfA wildlife hospital said, "The bird was either attacked or it fell from a height while running away when someone would have scared it. We do not know the exact reason, but this could be one of the reasons, as people try to chase them away and it leads to their displacement."
As this is the season for barn owl hatchlings, the hospital has seen a spike in the number of Barn owl rescues as compared to the rest of the year. "Barn owls hatch during this period. The chicks learn to fly when they are in the fledgling stage and they are very susceptible to displacement. Interaction with other species or humans could also causes such incidents. It forces them to a state of shock and proper medical care is essential to save them," Dr Karthik added.
So far, the PFA has already rescued 10 barn owl hatchlings and fledglings in the urban areas, which is quite a big number in a short time. However, doctors give two reasons for the increase of such cases. The first being the loss of habitat and the other being the increase in rodents in the city.
"The barn owls mate in the urban areas due to a loss of their habitat. As their favourite food is rodent, they tend to throng cities in large numbers as there is ample garbage in urban areas and rodents thrive on it," said Dr Karthik. He added that the owls cause no harm and they should be left wherever they are.
Chief Veterinarian of PFA Colonel Dr Nawaz Shariff said, "Proper awareness about them is a necessity to protect them. Normally owls are nocturnal and rest during the day. If you spot one and if it doesn’t fly away when you apprach them, it’s best you contact a rescue centre like ours. Our team is committed to saving the city’s wildlife round the clock."