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Obese owl sheds weight to fly once again

A few days ago, a slightly obese owl broke the internet when it was revealed that she had become too fat to fly, and had to be rescued from a ditch henceforth. Suffolk Owl Sanctuary in England had posted a photo of the poor bird on their Instagram, sharing her unusual situation.

The bird weighed 245 grams (about a third heavier than a large healthy female little owl) and she was unable to fly due to the “fatty deposits”.

The post added that for a wild bird to get so obese was unheard of. So, the members of the sanctuary decided to keep the bird under observation for some weeks. The post added that the owl has been kept on a “strict diet”, which has resulted in her slimming down to a more “natural weight for release”.




However, the diet clearly worked. The bird, named Plump by the sanctuary, managed to fly off after it slimmed down to a “healthy weight.”

“Wow…what a little star Plump has turned out to be!” the sanctuary’s Facebook post reads. In the video, Plump can be seen flying off into the “British countryside at a much healthier, and happier weight.”

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This soggy little owl was found in a ditch. Usually in these instances we assume injury that is preventing the owl from flying – occasionally becoming wet causes them to become grounded too – so you can imagine our surprise that when we examined her, we found her to simply be extremely obese! Upon weighing her, she was a rather chunky 245g (which is roughly a third heaver than a large healthy female little owl) and she was unable to fly effectively due to the fatty deposits. This is unusual for wild birds to get into this condition, so we needed to investigate some obvious scenarios – the first being that she was possibly an escaped aviary bird. Sadly there was no indication of rings or chip identification. We decided to observe the bird over a period of weeks for signs of a life in captivity. Familiarity with foods used in aviaries such as bright yellow chicks (which won’t often be found naturally in the English countryside) are a telltale sign. Luckily, there were no giveaway signs as she was readily taking more wild food types such as dark mice, so we are confident this may just be an unusual case of natural obesity! We also found that the area where she was rescued was crawling with field mice and voles due to the warm and wet winter we experienced in December. She has since spent a few weeks with us under observation and been placed on a strict diet. We can now happily say she has trimmed down to a more natural weight for release. . . . . . #suffolkowlsanctuary #owlsanctuary #animalsanctuary #suffolkwildlife #owl #buzzard #eagle #hawk #kestrel #meerkat #redsquirrel #conservation #wildlifeconservation #wildliferescue #animalrescue #birdsofprey #animalrehabilitation #suffolk #falconry

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