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A family of owls logged an epic adventure after hitching a ride on the back of a timber truck.
When Mull haulage driver Eddie O’Donnell picked up a big stack of timber for the back of his double-wagon truck at Scoor Forest near Bunessan little did he know what extra cargo he had on board.
The fluffy stowaways remained undiscovered until a surprised Mr O’Donnell arrived at Pennyghael Pier ten miles away and started unloading.
It was only when the logs were being stacked that three baby tawny owls tumbled out, said Mr O’Donnell who quickly got help what to do next from nearby wildlife tour guide Bryan Rains from Wild About Mull.
‘It was only by a stroke of luck I spotted them. I’d already taken a couple of grabs with the crane when I saw them,’ said Mr O’Donnell.
The owlets were given a quick health check to make sure they were unscathed and then were then boxed up and driven back home.
Ash Soames, who lives close to the spot at Bunessan, agreed to keep an eye on them but the next day found one of the owlets had vanished overnight and that the other two were getting weak and hungry.
With advice from Mull’s RSPB officer David Sexton, the two baby owls were moved on a late night flit to the Lochdon home of David and Val Owen who have years of experience of bringing up owls.
After a touch-and-go night, the weakest chick survived against the odds and now both of them are thriving , eating well, putting on weight and are starting to show their first feathers.
The plan is to release them back into the wild soon but until then, adoptive parents Mr and Mrs Owen will keep leaving food nearby until they can fend for themselves and ‘fly the nest.’
As for the missing chick they can only hope it went walkabout and is now back under the wing of its real parents being fed.
Mr and Mrs Owen who moved up from Norfolk over two years ago bringing their own owls with them, have a track record on Mull for helping rescue birds of prey including a buzzard, a Tawny who got stuck behind glass and another owl trapped in a slurry pit.
‘I can’t believe these owlets managed to survive the lorry journey without being squashed in the middle of all the logs, they must’ve clung on tight,’ said Mrs Owen.
Mr Sexton said: ‘It’s great to hear of a heart-warming story like this, especially now at times like this.
‘Clearly, this case was exceptional. Eddie must have been so skilled and careful picking up the logs not to injure the owlets! It’s an incredible story
of survival and now thanks to Ash, David and Val they’re well on their way to a bright future back in the wild.’
Usually advice is to leave owlets alone because it seems they have a bit of wanderlust, walking away from the nest and climbing about while still being fed by their parents is quite normal.