A British wildlife charity has said that an owl that was found in a ditch in early January and initially thought to have been injured turned out to be "simply extremely obese". When staff examined and weighed the bird, she was "a rather chunky" 245 grams, according to the group's social media.
The Suffolk Owl Sanctuary said a member of the public reported spotting a possibly injured owl stranded in a ditch a few weeks ago, but rescuers took the female bird for an examination and discovered she wasn't injured, just overweight.
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In fact, when staff at the sanctuary - which is based Stonham Aspal - weighed their new feathered friend, they discovered she was nearly a third heavier than the average healthy female little owl. The excess fat meant she was not able to fly properly on account of the greasy deposits.
The sanctuary said it was "extremely unusual for wild birds to get into this condition naturally".
Rescuers found the owl surrounded with "a field of mice and rodents" and anxious that an injury had prevented her from flying.
The sanctuary concluded that "natural obesity" was to blame, and the place where the overindulgent owl was found was "crawling with field mice and voles" thanks to the mild December weather.
He said: 'This is the first time we've had this.
Thanks to the staff at the owl sanctuary, the "fat owl" made a full recovery after being put on a "strict diet".
Over a couple of weeks, the little owl lost 20g and 30g as staff kept a close eye on her food intake.
An owl has successfully been released back into the wild in the United Kingdom, after it was found to be too obese to fly.
"We may see her again - we hope not", Samkin says, before staffers let their "little star" fly off into the wild.