When a passerby in Saxmundham, England, saw a wet tiny owl laying in a ditch, they believed she had been hurt. They were confident when she didn’t take to the skies.
But there was something more holding her to the ground.
Suffolk Owl Sanctuary received a call from a concerned citizen. Staff members were startled to find that the baby owl was almost a third heavier than expected during an inspection.
The owl weighed little over half a pound, compared to a third of a pound for healthy adult small owls.
“We discovered her to be quite fat!
Suffolk Owl Sanctuary posted a message on Facebook.
And knowing where the fat was didn’t improve matters one iota.
Rufus Samkin, the sanctuary’s head falconer, told The Dodo, “She had a considerable layer of fat just beneath the skin in particular around her legs and tummy.” “It’s rare for a wild owl to be so disproportionately obese. We would anticipate a breeding female to gain weight around the start of the breeding season, but her gain was pretty substantial.”
The small owl had overindulged over the holidays, like so many of us do, when she found herself surrounded by food. “Due to the mild and rainy winter we experienced in December, the area where she was rescued was swarming with field mice and voles,” the sanctuary said.
According to Samkin, the astute owl was just taking measures in preparation for the upcoming harsh winter months: “Owls sometimes ‘over-hunt’ when there is an excess of food, and they construct caches to see them through severe weather events when hunting is more difficult,” he added.
He went on to say, “Clearly she was a successful hunter.”
The owl was given the moniker Plump and was put on a strict diet by the sanctuary. She lost the excess weight and felt so much better in only a few weeks.
The sanctuary said, “We can now gladly report she has slimmed down to a more natural weight for release.”
Plump was returned to the countryside at the end of January, and her caretakers were overjoyed to see her so gently fly away.
Their sole hope is for her to stay on track with her diet.