At just eight weeks old, with a perfect heart-shaped face, this little owlet is set to charm schoolchildren across NSW as part of a bid to save her species.
The “super affectionate” masked owl is a product of the breeding program at Feathered Friends Bird Sanctuary.
Sanctuary director Ravi Wasan said the masked owl was a vulnerable species in NSW, and especially at risk in the Wollondilly area.
The sanctuary is in the process of moving, with financial support from Tahmoor Coking Coal, from western Sydney to new headquarters at Bargo.
From there it will work to protect endangered bird species through breeding and education programs, and restoring habitat.
“Standing almost 50cm tall when mature, the masked owl is the largest of the tyto owls – which are owls with a heart-shaped disc on their face,” Mr Wasan said.
“They are elusive, secretive, shy and rare — and silent in flight — so you may never have seen or heard them. It also means no one really knows how many are around.
“That’s why very soon, this ball of fluff will be visiting schools in the hope to inspire locals to support the conservationof this unique species.”
While their habitat is disappearing, it’s the difficulty finding a safe food source that’s a real risk to these beautifulbirds of prey.
“Like a lot of owl species, they suffer from secondary poisoning — rats who’ve ingested rat bait may take a few days to dieand these guys catch them and eat them,” Mr Wasan said. “And because of the size of them, masked owls need to find a hollow big enough for a 50cm owl plus two others.”
Mr Wasan welcomed the support of Tahmoor Coking Coal, whose general manager Peter Vale said: “Feathered Friends is doing importantwork to support threatened species such as the masked owl so it was a no-brainer to support the new enclosures.”
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https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/little-owlet-is-a-real-sweetheart/news-story/0187126844f4208374971a13c930ae28 Baby owl is a real sweetheart