When the young of Tawny Owls start to grow, they do a manoeuvre called ‘branching’ where they walk along the branch of the tree from their nest and flap their wings. This is a wing-strengthening exercise and practice for the day they take their first flight.
Quite often these Owls will fall off and land at the bottom of the tree. These birds DO NOT need to be rescued. Their parents will still feed them on the ground and the young owls are also able to climb back up of their own accord, so please leave them alone unless you are 100% sure they are orphans.
Barn Owls do not feed their young on the ground and, if found, should either be put back into the nest if possible, or rescued. These birds can easily imprint on humans so it’s important to get them to your local wildlife rescue centre as soon as possible.
Rescuing birds of prey can be very risky due to their sharp talons and beak. It is best to leave the rescue of these birds to the professionals but if there is no one at hand to help you, wear thick gloves, then get a large thick towel or jacket and throw it over the bird. Make sure to take into account which end is the head and pick the bird up using both hands and holding it away from your body. Most raptors will go flat and remain still while you do this, but you must take great care not to have your hands or body close to the talons.
Put the bird in a large box preferably with a towel on the base to prevent the bird slipping. Ensure there are air holes in the box and securely close the lid leaving the towel/jacket in place on the bird. Take the bird to your nearest wildlife rescue centre or veterinary practice immediately.