10 Baby Owl Facts That You May Not Have Heard Of Before


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Owls are magnificent creatures. They can rotate their necks 270 degrees and they can fly over 40 miles per hour. Baby owls, just like their parents, are amazing birds that are simply adorable. With their large eyes and their fluffy feathers, it is hard not to fall in love with a baby owl. But do you really know as much as you think you know about baby owls?

There are so many interesting facts about baby owls. Baby owls are incredible little animals and are so different from other baby birds. Although owls are such large birds, baby owls tend to be very small. They grow a lot during their first few weeks after hatching, and by their ninth week they are very much like an adult owl. 

Today, I’m going to go over the top ten most interesting facts on baby owls. Some of these baby owl facts you may have heard of before, while others may be new to you. One thing is for sure – by the end of this article, you will be amazed by these facts on baby owls. Now, let’s get started on learning about these ten interesting facts on baby owls. 

#1: Baby Owls Have Their Own Special Name

Most baby birds are called chicks or hatchlings. However, baby owls have their own special name. They are called owlets. An owlet is typically a recently hatched bird that has not yet developed its full mature plumage and is still dependent on its parents for feeding, care, and security. Owlets do not usually leave the nest for long and cannot completely care for themselves. 

By the time a baby owl is able to get out of its nest, it is called a Brancher. Once it has begun to fly, a baby owl is called a Fledgling. However, many people still call baby owls owlets, even after they begin leaving the nest and start flying. By the time the baby owl reaches 9 to 12 weeks of age, it is very much like an adult. By one year of age, the owl is definitely an adult. 

baby owl

#2: Baby Owls Are Born With A Tooth

Just like other baby birds, baby owls are born with a tooth. This tooth is called the Egg Tooth. It is what helps the baby owl hatch out of the egg. The mother owl also helps break open the egg, but the owlet has to do a lot of the work. This Egg Tooth will fall off after about a week or so after the baby owl hatches. After that, the owl does not have any teeth but instead has one large beak. Because owls cannot chew their prey, they swallow small prey whole and must tear larger prey into smaller pieces before swallowing. They later regurgitate pellets of indigestible material such as bone, fur, and feathers.

An owl’s diet includes invertebrates (such as insects, spiders, earthworms, snails, and crabs), fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and small mammals. Some species mainly eat insects, while others mainly eat mice and other small mammals. Once caught, smaller prey is carried away in the bill, or eaten immediately. Larger prey is carried off in the talons, which is the claws of the owl. 

baby owl

#3: Baby Owls Are Born In Stolen Nests

Unlike other birds, owls do not build their own nests. Instead, they steal nests from other birds. Some species use old hawk, crow, or raven nests. A few other species of owls use a scrape on the ground, and a number of small owls nest in tree cavities or nest boxes.

baby owl

#4: Baby Owls Hatch On Different Days

You may have assumed that baby owls hatch from their eggs all at the same time. After all, that is how chicks hatch. The hen does not start incubating her eggs until all the eggs are laid. That way, they will all hatch at the same time. Owls, on the other hand, lay their eggs over the course of a few days, so there will always be a size difference in the owl siblings, as they hatch at different times. Because the owlets hatch at different times, sometimes the youngest may not survive because of food shortages, as the bigger owlets will get most of the food. 

baby owl

#5: Baby Owls Don’t Stay Around the Nest For Too Long

As early as 3 to 4 weeks, baby owls may start leaving the nest. Baby owls who simply walk around outside of the nest are called Branchers. Baby owls who start flying are called Fledglings. They usually begin flying around 9 to 12 weeks. Usually around 6 weeks after hatching, baby owls will leave the nest. 

It is around this time that baby owls become more like adult owls. Usually, around 9 weeks of age, their feathers will come in, which means they will be able to fly. By one year of age, most owls begin looking for their own mates. 

baby owl

#6: You Should Leave A Baby Owl Alone Unless It Appears Injured

Many people assume that if a baby owl is out of its nest it must be injured. While this may be true, usually baby owls are out of the nest because they are exploring the world around them and learning how to fly. Although many people think they are helping the baby owl by taking it home with them, they are actually doing more harm than good. It is normal for fledglings to spend time out of the nest. If you are very sure that the baby owl is injured, then call a local rescue group. Don’t disturb the baby owl too much, and do not take it home with you. 

baby owl

#7: A Baby Owl Will Become Attached To Humans

Speaking of how humans often take owls home, if you happen to raise a baby owl, they will become very attached to you. That is why rescuers must be extremely careful not to bond with the baby owl. Sometimes, rescuers will feed baby owls with an owl puppet holding tweezers. That way, the baby owl won’t become attached to the human. 

baby owl

#8: A Baby Owl’s Parents Stay Together For the Rest Of Their Lives

For most owl species, the parents will stay mates for a lifetime. Some species will stay mates for five years, but most stay together for the rest of their lives. However, once mating season is over, the two owls usually leave each other and go on their own separate ways. But once it is mating season again, the two owls will find each other. If one of the owls happens to die, the other owl may mate with another owl.

baby owl

#9: Owls Are Very Protective Of Their Young

The parents of the baby owls are very protective of their young. They have been known to attack other animals and even humans in order to protect their young. One time, an Arctic owl was videotaped trying to defend her young from an Arctic wolf

baby owl

#10: Owls Grow Quickly

A baby owl grows very quickly. Within eight or nine weeks, barn owls are at a full adult weight and feathering. That said, baby owls start off very small. Take the snowy owl as an example. The snowy owl weighs 4.5 pounds, which is one of the largest owls. Baby snowy owls, however, are born at the size of a baby chicken.

Baby owls can also look very different from their adult parents. For example, the snowy owl has white feathers when it is full grown, but as an owlet it will have brown feathers. Also, owlets that are just born don’t have any feathers. Instead of having feathers, they have indistinct down. Within a few weeks though, a baby owl will start to look more like an adult owl. 

baby owl

Final Thoughts

There are so many interesting facts about baby owls. In this article, I went over ten baby owl facts that you may not have heard of before. Baby owls, which are actually called owlets, begin feathering at 8 to 9 weeks old. Before their feathers come in, baby owls have soft plumage called down. The down is what give baby owls their fluffy look. 

By the time that baby owls begin flying, they start leaving their nest. Sometimes they leave their nest before they learn how to fly. If you ever find a baby owl out of its nest, you should assume that it is injured. Unless it shows signs of injury, you should either leave it or call a rescue group. It is common for baby owls to wander out of their nests. 

By 8 to 9 weeks of age, a baby owl is considered an adult. Its feathers come in and it is out of its nest. Once the owl is one year old, it will find its own mate. I hope this article has helped you understand a little bit more about baby owls. As you can see, there are so many interesting facts about these creatures that are simply unbelievable. 

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