This is quite remarkable as male owls tend to be very territorial and aggressive towards other male owls, and will even kill them. Maybe, just maybe, he would live, but the chance of him flying and hunting again was basically less than zero. She was so excited that she could barely speak: “Daddy, daddy! Uiltjie was born to be free and that is the way that he's going to remain until the end of his life. I accepted Uiltjie's offering with mixed feelings. The first was not too difficult because Uiltjie would eat almost anything that I … This Barn Owl has, since her release, successfully raised 26 owlets. I was devastated as Uiltjie had become like a child to me and not knowing what had happened to him made it even worse. Unfortunately one of the owlets was still recovering from a broken leg and wasn't doing too well, so I decided to hold him back. I know he actually deserves a more exotic name, but that’s what I called him and that’s what he answers to, so I’m afraid we’re stuck with it. Since his recovery, Uiltjie has adopted and successfully raised 39 Spotted Eagle Owlet orphans, as well as his own four babies and even took it upon his shoulders to take them on hunting trips, once they were ready to fledge, teaching them how to hunt for their natural food and how to survive in the wild. Now this is something that rarely happens to an owl and nobody seemed to know what to do. The ultimate goal of sanctuaries like this is to rehabilitate and release these animals back into the wild; Uiltjie and Woody are free to come and go as they please. When I saw him for the first time, the majestic owl, with his intense, golden eyes and magnificent ear tufts, was perched on a power line pole just outside our house. So, I first had to teach him what his natural food (mice, rats and birds) was, and then how to hunt for it. In some portions of its range, much of the spotted owl's diet is composed of several other mammals such as deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), pocket gophers (Thomomys spp. Aside from Uiltjie, the Pretorius family also includes cats, dogs, horses, donkeys, pigs, ducks and chickens, lizards, and other birds, and they have made it their mission in life to help sick, injured and abandoned animals. I could actually empathise with him, because a couple of years ago I’d injured my back severely in a car accident, so I knew what he was going through. He actually turned left-handed (or would that be left-legged?) Owls are wild animals and should never be kept as pets. These birds primarily feed on small insects, mammals, voles, rabbits, snowshoe hares, brush rabbits, amphibians, reptiles, woodpeckers, songbirds, jays, deer-mice, Mexican woodrats, squirrels, bushy-tailed rats, and bats. Owls can’t just live on raw meat – they need things like fur and feathers for healthy digestive function and nutrients. About two weeks after Uiltjie's two owlets left the nest to follow their parents on foot and to learn how to hunt, I received four orphaned owlets from a fellow rehabilitator. In this way, he made it possible to rehabilitate the orphaned owlets in a natural way, increasing their chances of surviving in the wild and preventing them from imprinting onto human beings, which normally tends to be a major problem when having to hand-rear orphaned owlets. The latter, however, was not so easy, seeing as my wife and children would never allow me to feed him live mice and rats. – Geoduck. The first few days Uiltjie fought for his life. I picked him up and rushed to the house to examine him, but could find no outward signs of injury. This time he knew what his natural food was but had to learn how to fly properly again and how to use his right leg and talon, which was still clearly hurting. My daughter took a piece of raw meat, chicken this time, and headed outside to entice him to sit on her outstretched arm again, but no such luck. It took another five weeks, during which time he was totally dependent on us, but, slowly but surely, he healed.

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