We have some happy news about our beautiful new Eurasian Eagle Owl! This adorable owlet was born on April 5th, to Rocco and Sandy, just in time for Easter – it’s the second baby they’ve hatched, following the birth of Twiglet last year (Twiglet is pictured above, with mum Sandy).
After a blissful start in life, our new little one stopped growing and became very weak, so the Keepers stepped in to help. You can see pictures above, taken a few weeks ago, when he looked like a scrappy and limp ball of fluff – compare this with the pictures of him standing up, which were taken today!
We hope it’s onwards and upwards from now on – Eurasian Eagle Owls are one of the biggest species of owls, and when they’re fully grown have a wingspan of up to 188 cm (6 ft 2 in), which is the height of a tall man!
The five week old Owlet is now 1168g – which is twice the size of a fully grown Barn Owl! – and thanks to the intensive hand rearing that he’s receiving, he’s getting bigger and stronger by the day.
“He’s really filling out,” says Head Keeper Terri Cook, “He eats a staggering 14 chicks or mice a day – that’s two more than both his parents together! He feeds every 4-5 hours and, as you can imagine, is pooping a lot!”
We won’t know the sex for a few more weeks, so the Keepers have decided to called him or her Groot – after the adorable unisex character from Guardians of the Galaxy and the new Avengers: Endgame. The Keepers are all huge fans and this name seems to have stuck!
Today Groot learned to stand up properly without falling over and took a few steps before sitting again. You can see feathers emerging on the tips of wings. We’re all so proud!
Terri, who has been caring for him at home overnight, says: “Generally Groot goes to bed about 10.30pm and is very good throughout the night. You may think he’d be wide awake but owls can be crepuscular – more active at twilight as the sun is setting or just before dawn when the sun rises. He’s very sociable and affectionate and now waddles to the nearest Keeper’s feet for cuddles at teabreak time! His feet are huge!”
If the weather’s warm, you might get a sneak preview of baby Groot this weekend – you can certainly see the rest of his family. Hope you’ll fly by and see us soon!