We’ve got a special treat for you this Halloween – meet Maximus, our really scary six week-old Burrowing Owl!
Bird Keepers stepped in to rescue the chick at two weeks-old after finding him in a flooded burrow following recent heavy rainfall.
Birds Section Leader Nicola Wright, said: “The chick was being parent reared, but they’d abandoned their underground nest and the chick because of the rainwater and initially we thought we’d lost him as he was very cold, wet and lifeless.
“However after a little warmth and TLC, we managed to revive him and he’s doing really well.
“We started feeding with finely diced mice and rats and now at around 20cm tall he’s fully grown and has already started to develop his mottled brown and white adult plumage.”
He’s the second Burrowing Owl DZG keepers have had to hand rear, after they were forced to stepped in and raise Maximus’ half brother, Pascal, three years-ago, who was also abandoned by his parents.
And the two brothers have already been introduced, with Maximus set to move in with Pascal in the Elephant House in the coming months, as keepers begin training him to join our daily bird of prey display team.
Burrowing owls are so called because they nest underground in burrows, usually those previously excavated by other animals such as prairie dogs.