NATIONAL NEWS

A Rescued Owl Was ‘Too Fat To Fly’ After Bingeing On Mice

Jan 29, 2020, 10:06 AM
The female "little owl" was a third heavier than normal for the species. (Courtesy Suffolk Owl Sanc...
The female "little owl" was a third heavier than normal for the species. (Courtesy Suffolk Owl Sanctuary)
(Courtesy Suffolk Owl Sanctuary)

(CNN) — Holiday overindulgence may not be an exclusively human weakness — as a team of falconers discovered after rescuing an owl that was too fat to fly.

Suffolk Owl Sanctuary in eastern England was called to rescue the female “little owl,” known scientifically as athene noctua, after a concerned passerby found it sodden in a ditch.

Head falconer Rufus Samkin told CNN that the team took in the owl on January 3.

At first they thought she had been injured or that her flying was impeded by the fact she was wet — but even after drying off and getting a clean bill of health, the tubby avian still struggled to fly up to the perches in the aviary.

The team then considered whether the owl had been kept as a pet — but it found “no evidence” of that being the case, as she refused foods commonly given to pet birds in favor of feed eaten by wild owls.

“It’s quite relatable — a plump owl that’s overdone it,” Samkin told CNN.

“We thoroughly examined it and found there was nothing wrong, other than it being extraordinarily overweight. It was very, very plump and very wet,” he said.

“Owls do have an issue with waterproofing — so if they do get wet they can’t fly as well. But this one couldn’t really fly at all,” he added.

“It was about one third bigger than the average female we’d get — so significantly larger.”

In particular, the owl had lots of “fatty deposits” around its thighs and abdomen, he said.

“When we dug a little deeper and looked into where she was found we discovered the place was crawling with wild mice.

“It’s been a really good year for prey species, so I think she’s basically just massively overindulged, got really plump, and then got caught in a wet spell and was too fat to fly.”

The Suffolk Owl Sanctuary kept the owl on a diet for two weeks to bring her back within a healthy weight range and on Monday released her back into the wild where she was found, Samkin said.

“She definitely needed to go on a diet,” he added. “Hopefully she’s learned a thing or two.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Four University of Idaho students were found dead Nov. 13 at this three-story home on King Road in ...
Veronica Miracle, Stella Chan and Jason Hanna, CNN

Investigators have quality leads in the killings of 4 students, police say

Investigators have "a lot of quality leads" about last month's killings of four University of Idaho students in an off-campus house police said.
20 hours ago
District of Columbia Police Chief Robert Contee looks on as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) passe...
MARY CLARE JALONICK, FARNOUSH AMIRI and LISA MASCARO, Associated Press

Jan. 6 ‘heroes’ honored for defending Capitol from Trump mob

Top House and Senate leaders have bestowed Congress' highest honor on law enforcement officers who defended the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
20 hours ago
The U.S. flag flies at half staff over the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC on May 12, 2022 ...
Madison Swenson

Gov. Cox orders flags lowered for National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has ordered all flags be lowered to half-staff on Wednesday as part of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
20 hours ago
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Legacy Sports USA on October 09, 2...
MICHAEL R. SISAK Associated Press

Trump Organization convicted in executive tax dodge scheme

Donald Trump’s company was convicted of tax fraud on Tuesday in a case brought by the Manhattan District Attorney.
20 hours ago
A sign marking the entrance to Hildale in Utah, from Colorado City in Arizona. (FILE)...
Larry D. Curtis

FBI says polygamist leader took 20 wives, many underage, alleges illicit sexual activities

Probable cause documents lay out illicit sexual activities of a small religious group — that included underage girls — under the orders of Samuel Rappylee Bateman, living on the Utah and Arizona border. The documents also detail how girls were helped to run away by Bateman’s adult plural wives after they were removed from family […]
20 hours ago
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: In this photo illustration, three screens display the splash page for...
Associated Press

Facebook parent Meta threatens to remove news from platform

Facebook parent Meta Platforms says it will be forced to consider removing news content from its platform if Congress passes legislation that could require social media companies to pay news outlets.
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
A Rescued Owl Was ‘Too Fat To Fly’ After Bingeing On Mice