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Lilly Dollman spotted Sculthorpe's Tawny chick whilst carrying out routine checks at the Sculthorpe Reserve yesterday. She managed to capture this great footage of the branching bird and we're delighted to share it with you as a means of explaining the 'branching' stage of Tawnies!
 
Chris Sperring MBE noted that this is a classic example of a branching bird. The bird wants to get out of the nest and start jumping from tree to tree, and as a result, they do fall down! The best thing to do if you see this is to leave them where they are.
At this stage, they are strong enough to climb and may get parental help if they are left undisturbed.
At this point in their development, they are close to flying, but not fully able to. Branching is a way for them to build strength. Barn Owls tend to stay in the nest for as long as possible but Tawnies will branch at 4-5 weeks old. It will be about a month following this before Tawny Owls can actually fly.
Branching stage (also know as brancher stage) is an important stage for the Tawny Owls to familiarise themselves with their wild surroundings. They are vulnerable at this stage, but the best thing to do if ever you see a lone Tawny Owl chick is to give it space and leave it alone, often the parent birds are close by.
Chris said that a great slogan to recall for Tawny Owl chicks is ‘if you find me leave me alone’
 
 

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