Obese owl too fat to fly put on diet, then release into wild

Not long ago, representatives from the U.K.’s Suffolk Owl Sanctuary (UKSOS) found and rescued an owl from a ditch earlier this month on January 3, and found that it was unable to lift itself off the ground to fly.

Rescuers examined the owl assuming it may have had an injury or perhaps it became too wet and grounded. They were surprised to find the owl lacked any injuries and that it was just simply too fat to fly.

The owl weighed in at a hefty 245 grams or 8.64 ounces, a little over a half of a pound, which workers at the UKSOS say is approximately one third heavier than what a female owl of its species is supposed weigh

According the team the female owl had fatty deposits around her body which kept her from flying. They said that it was extremely unusual for birds in the wild to put on that much weight.

The UKSOS team thought that it may have been an owl that had been kept in captivity and had escaped which could explain why it was so overweight.

So the team proceeded to find out over several weeks to see if that was the case by the types of food they gave the owl to eat. In aviaries the common food that is fed to owls are usually bright yellow chicks which are not naturally found in the English countryside and if the rescued owl responded to its familiarity it would be a sign that it did escape from captivity.

However, the rescued owl, now being affectionately and appropriately called ‘Plump,” took more to prey that was found in her habitat showing that her case was one of natural obesity.

Further investigation by the team, revealed that the area where she was rescued was swarming with field mice and voles from the wet and warm winter that was experienced in the area in December.

Plump just simply overindulged her self.

According to UKSOS’s head falconer, Rufus Samkin, Plump was ‘significantly larger’ than the owls they usually see. Apparently she more than took advantage of the abundance of prey, got really fat, hit a wet spell and ended up too fat to fly, Samkin told CNN News.

While under the care of the UKSOS team, Plump was put on a strict diet so that she was eventually able to lift off the ground and gracefully fly again into a nearby tree.