A pair of ‘bound’ tawny owls have been released into the wild in a ‘woodland wedding lane’ after being cared for at a sanctuary.
Snowball and Wotsit were found injured by the side of the road at different locations in Suffolk around four weeks ago.
During rehabilitation at the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary in Stonham Aspal, the pair bonded, cuddling together.
Although the staff cannot be sure of their gender, they believe Snowball to be male and hope he will mate with a female, Wotsit.
Jess Barrell, senior falconer and head of the Sanctuary Hospital, released the couple into woodland at a popular wedding venue in the village of Henley, north of Ipswich, on Friday.
“These two came to us as singles, but they spent time in an aviary building up their physical condition and developing their hunting skills, and during that time they bonded so they have spent the whole time snuggled up next to each other, which was absolutely adorable,” she said.
Falconer Nick Wallbridge said it was not easy to determine the sex of a tawny owl.
“You have to look at the height, and Wotsit is a bit taller so we think she’s female, while Snowball is smaller – we’re pretty sure she’s male, but he’s hard to be 100% sure without a DNA test,” he said. said.
Ms Barrell has high hopes for the newly released pair, now they are both fit and healthy.
They were ready to “start their new life together,” she said.
The couple, once released, flew under the wedding arch at the end of the wooded driveway.
“These two little owls, as a couple…walking down the aisle together…couldn’t be more perfect,” she said.
Both were banded with ID numbers.
“Hopefully in the future we might see these guys nesting locally. They can travel up to 10km (six miles), and the other bird population might dictate whether they stay here – but we really hope they do – we’d love to see again,’ Ms Barrell said.
“In a year or two, we might even see youngsters of these two.
“But for now, they’re going to start their new life in the Suffolk wilderness. That’s the best part of what we do – bringing these birds back to where they belong.”
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