Article from St Marys-Mt Druitt Star
Staff at Featherdale Wildlife Park have been rather clucky ever since a pair of eastern grass owl chicks appeared.
They were hatched earlier this month and opened their eyes for the first time last week.
‘‘They are ravenous and love their food,’’ said wildlife keeper James Fong, pictured with the then 13-day-old chicks.
‘‘They look forward to dinner time and will grow very quickly,’’ he said.
‘‘They get very defensive by clapping their beaks.’’
Some feathers will be plucked in the next fortnight to send down to a Victorian lab to determine their gender. Eastern grass owls live on the Australian east coast and nest on the ground, unlike other species. ‘‘They have exceptional hearing, which they use to hunt for rodents,’’ Mr Fong said. The chicks came from one of the two pairs of breeding owls at Featherdale. The eggs were incubated for 40 days before the chicks hatched.
The owls will make their public debut within the next month. ‘‘We have eight owl species at the park,’’ Mr Fong said. ‘‘We get a good public response to the owls as people don’t get to see them close up very often.’’ It’s uncertain whether the chicks will remain at Featherdale long term. ‘‘Because they are such a rare animal, we may send them elsewhere to spread the love,’’ Mr Fong said.
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