“Heads up”!

Animal Stories

Young nestling Collared Scops Owls are loveable birds, that often arrive from rescue looking like white fluff balls and grow up resembling a piece of tree bark with a pair of big eyes.

These owls are the commonest native owl species in Hong Kong. They can often be heard if not seen in scattered woodland across the territory and including wooded urban parks. They feed on insects and small rodents. Some  adult birds will have a favourite perch over a quiet road or path where they will sit and wait for a large cockroach or beetle to cross the road and then pounce down on the unsuspecting prey.

This series of photographs illustrates the interesting head movements owls (of all ages) make when confronted with a close up object. The movements have a practical purpose. Owl’s eyes are in fixed positions and cannot move like human eyes, they are also powerful like mini binoculars. Head movements help owls to judge the position and distance of objects around them. In this case the owl on the left was trying to work out whether the photographer was a threat and how close the potential threat was. The owl was more relaxed when it realized the intruder was the object that delivers the food!

The young scops owls in the photograph are being cared for by the professional rescue team at KFBG prior to their release back to the wild. As they get older they develop their adult camouflage feathering to help them merge invisibly in the forest, and they become more independent and even territorial.

We remind readers not to pick up young birds for rescue unless they are under immediate threat, or there is no sign of their parents after a period of observation has been undertaken from a distance.

Help us help nature, by enjoying without disturbing!  

You can contribute to the work of the dedicated conservation staff by donating to the rescue and rehabilitation efforts.