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At 10 days old it's eyes are yet to open

10 day old Sooty Owl Chick

I always knew there was life in space, but I never thought I would actually ever meet a space ambassador. Today was the day.

When I enter the animal hospital I hear squeaky noises. Not thinking about what I will see, I enter the room, looking around naively, until I finally notice where it comes from. Something is moving in a big yellow incubator.

Tiny, a few feathers here and there, but mainly naked – I can see them! I didn’t know there are aliens at Taronga. I wonder which class they belong to….

They are actually birds, two Sooty Owl chicks to be precise. They look so fragile and even kind of cute. Sitting in a little container with their eyes still closed.

Grey, the senior bird keeper, hand-feeds them. He cuts up little dead mice. “I try to give them some organs, because they are highly nutritional and in the wild their parents would hunt for mice and another small animals for their chicks”, he says. 

He carefully takes one of them out of the incubator, it’s about half the size of his hand, and sits it on a scale. When he holds the food near its beak, it immediately grabs and swallows it. Yum.

Their weight goes up with every feed. “Every day they grow”, says Grey. Four times a day his ‘mother qualities’ are asked for.

Thanks to his devotion and care, the 10 and 12- day old  chicks are going to be big strong owls one day. Then, they will represent their species as part of the bird show at Taronga. As ambassadors of the Sooty Owls, not space creatures of course.

Media Intern, Ramona