Sunday, 19 April 2015

A Little Abnormality: The Curious Case Of A Local Little Owl

I was observing a pair of Little Owl today when I noticed something rather intriguing about one of the birds.
As you can see from the cropped image below, one of the owls has a deformity to the upper and lower parts of the beak, with both being unusually extended and curved.
As readers to this blog and those who know me personally will know, the petite bundle of feathers with an angry scowl that is the Little Owl is my favourite British bird. Which made the deformity even more of a surprise and a first for me.
I had heard about and seen photographs of other birds, such as Blue Tits and Parrots, with abnormal bill defects but never an Owl.
The deformity aside, this individual seemed to me to be in good health and this defect clearly isn't a life or death hindrance to the birds survival given how long it has clearly lasted with it.
It survived as a fledgling, successfully reached maturity and subsequently found a mate. This is one tough cookie and I have fingers and toes crossed that this pair will breed this year.
Watch this space....

David Dinsley
Nature North East / The Northern Owl Project