With their fluffy fur and piercing big eyes, there’s simply no denying that baby owls are one of the most adorable baby animals in the world. They’re so cute, in fact, that it’s quite difficult to imagine them one day growing up and becoming an agile hunter, especially as they look so cuddly.
If you’re already an owl fanatic, we’re sure that you’ll already be well aware that baby owl sightings can be few and far between. To stay safe, baby owls are usually purposefully kept hidden from plain view to avoid being hunted by larger predators, and they are usually camouflaged so that they blend into their surroundings.
On top of that, given the fact that owls typically tend to be naturally nocturnal too, it means that observing and studying owls throughout their various life stages can be a tricky task to carry out – but luckily, this is where we come in to lend a helping hand.
If you’re currently interested in learning a little more about baby owls, then you’ve clicked on the right article! Below, not only are we going to be sharing fun facts about baby owls with you, but you will also find interesting information that will help gain a deeper understanding of them, their characteristics, and their unique behaviors.
Not just that, but we’ve also made sure to include plenty of adorable and sweet pictures of baby owls along the way, too. So, without further ado, whenever you’re ready let’s jump in!
Fun Fact #1: Baby Owls Are Officially Known As Owlets
Did you know that baby owls are officially referred to as Owlets? Typically, the term Owlet is only ever used to exclusively refer to an owl that is in its first year of life and has not yet developed into a mature owl.
While it can be relatively difficult to sometimes distinguish the age of one owl from another, Owlets are easy to pick out simply due to their appearance, which often consists of white downy fur that has not yet developed into its adult plumage.
Plus, in addition to an easily distinguishable appearance, Owlets can also typically be identified due to their behavior.
Owlets are unable to care for themselves completely so they will typically stay as close to the nest as possible, especially during the early stages of their life when they will often stay close to their parents who will provide them with protection.
Fun Fact #2: Owls Can Lay Varying Numbers Of Eggs
Unlike other breeds of birds that typically tend to lay the same amount of eggs when each breeding season rolls around, adult owls are unique and will lay eggs in accordance with the amount of food they have to eat.
So, with that being said, if there are any shortages of food for whatever reason, an owl might only lay 1 or 2 eggs.
However, if there is an abundance of food and there is plenty available for the female adult to eat, then it is likely that she will lay up to 14 eggs in one go. However, interestingly enough, barn owls will usually only ever lay up to 6 little white eggs.
The main breeding season will often take place between March all the way through to August, although the most common time of breeding takes place in the springtime.
The main reason for this is so that baby owlets will be born while their parents are able to hunt an abundant amount of prey, which will help to raise the chances of the owlets’ survival.
Nevertheless, owls are very smart animals and will often switch up their breeding schedule due to a variety of different reasons that might potentially impact the success of their owlets survival chances, including:
- Food shortages
- Adverse weather conditions
- Lack of a suitable mate
- Too many competing owls
Fun Fact #3: Owls Aren’t The Best At Nest-Building!
Despite the fact that owls are skilled hunters and agile predators, you might be amused to hear that nest-building is something that doesn’t seem to come naturally to them.
So much so, that it is very rare to see an owl making their own nest from scratch, especially while in a pair during the breeding season. Instead, paired owls will usually seek a nest that has already been built by other animals, so that they don’t have to go to the trouble of building a nest themselves.
More often than not, owls will usually seek out a nest that has been built by a variety of different bird breeds, including nests that have been built by magpies, crows, and a variety of different types of hawk birds.
In addition to showing a preference for taking abandoned nests built by other birds, owls also like to nest in areas that allow for a high vantage point, including along the edges of cliffs, in the rafters of barns, and even in silos.
It is also worth noting that it is widely considered that once a pair has partnered, the male counterpart will locate and select an appropriate territory for the pair to mate and nest, and the female counterpart will then have the responsibility of searching for a nest and selecting one for the pair to raise their little Owlets.
More often than not, the pair will raise their Owlets in this chosen nest and area for a period of around 7 months, as Owlets are helpless when they are young and need to be protected and taken care of by their parents.
Plus, as Owlets grow and begin to explore by themselves, they will typically not fly far from their nest alone during the first few months of their life, so the parents will stay with their young until they are ready to leave the nest and go off into the wild without them.
Once this has been successfully carried out, the mating pair will then usually separate in search of new partners, although not all owls will do this. Tawny Owls, for example, are known to mate for life and spend their lives together.
Fun Fact #4: Baby Owls Have Fluffy White Downy Fur!
As we have already touched upon above, when baby owls are born they are easily distinguishable thanks to the adorable, fluffy white downy fur that they are born with.
Besides looking totally sweet and cute, the fluffy white down that baby owls are born with is actually an evolutionary trait present among many different species of bird, and helps them to survive during this vulnerable period of their life.
Wondering why that is? Well, the fluffy white down that covers baby owls (or Owlets) as soon as they are born not only helps to keep them nice and warm, but it also helps them to remain camouflaged in their surroundings, which in turn helps to protect them from being hunted by hungry predators in the air and on the ground. Pretty clever, right?
Nevertheless, after only a short period of time, the fuzzy fur that baby owls are born with is soon replaced with darker feathers which shows that they are growing and preparing to leave the nest and become a fledgling.
Plus, in addition to those fluffy white feathers, some baby Owlets are even occasionally born with some of their adult feathers already grown in, although the majority of baby owls will exclusively have white downy feathers for the first few days of their life after they have hatched.
On average, all of the downy feathers will have been gone after baby owls have reached their juvenile stage, which is a period of life that typically begins around a month or two after they have been hatched.
Fun Fact #5: Owlets Are Born Blind
Unlike other species of bird, when baby owls are born they are born unable to use their sight. For this reason, it is absolutely crucial that they are taken care of by their parents in order to ensure that they will survive.
Luckily, mating pairs will stay with their young for a period of several months and will ensure that they are protected from predators and given all the food they need to grow during this vulnerable period.
After a short period of time, baby owls will develop their sight and begin to clamber around the nest curiously and will begin to interact with the mother who stays inside the nest.
During this early stage, the father will typically stay away from the nest and instead guard his territory to ensure that his young and partner are protected from predators.
All the while doing this, the male is also typically responsible for finding food and bringing it back to the nest, where the mother will then take over and feed the little Owlets.
Fun Fact #6: Baby Owls Eat Meat
If you ever thought that you were a picky eater, prepare to meet your match – because baby owls have a preference for eating meat, and will often refuse to eat anything else!
Nevertheless, even though baby owls get all of their strength and nourishment from a diet of various meats, it is still important that they are eating small amounts of meat, as large chunks of meat can be dangerous and difficult for little owls to safely eat without choking.
For this reason, it is common for the male parent to hunt for small mammals to give to its young, including small birds, barn mice, and shrews. However, in some instances where there might be food shortages, baby owls may also occasionally be given slugs, reptiles, and even insects to eat while the male goes off in search of a tastier meal.
If a baby owl has not been born in the wild but has instead been born in captivity, then its diet can sometimes be different to what it might be if it was to have been born in the wild.
Typically, baby owlets that have been born in captivity will have a more versatile diet that can include, alongside all the food sources we have mentioned above, frogs, cockerels, small birds, and more.
Unlike other types of birds that will occasionally switch up their diet and eat plants and vegetation, owls will almost never do this unless they are absolutely desperate.
Fun Fact #7: Owls Lay White Eggs
Did you know that owls lay little eggs that are a bright white color? Well, now you do! Unlike other types of birds which lay eggs that are often cream, brown, and sometimes even orange-hued in color, owls will exclusively lay eggs that are small in size and a bright, rich white in color.
After a pair has been formed during the breeding season and a nest has been selected, the female will proceed to lay her eggs in the nest which will usually be filled with whatever was originally in the nest when it was found by her.
However, in some instances, the female counterpart will sometimes forage in surrounding areas to collect leaves, branches, and other items to blend into the environment and to create a safe foundation for the eggs to be hatched on.
On the other hand, for barn owls who will typically fill their nest with pellets, the eggs can sometimes become dirty over the incubation period, which is caused by the pellets and can serve as a survival advantage, as the bright white of the eggshell is harder for hungry predators to spot.
In addition to this, you might also be interested to learn that Owlets will often hatch from their eggs all at different times, although it is common for all of the baby Owlets to hatch from their eggs in a period of within two days.