Rare baby owl Miska gets heads turning at bird centre

The Tengmalm's owl is the first of her kind to be born at the Scottish Owl Centre in West Lothian.

Marv-owl-lous: Miska has been named after a Swedish naturalist. <strong>SWNS</strong>
Marv-owl-lous: Miska has been named after a Swedish naturalist. SWNS

A rare owl has become the first of its kind to be born at a Scottish bird centre.

Adorable pictures show Tengmalm’s owl Miska, exploring her new surroundings at the Scottish Owl Centre in West Lothian.

Named after Swedish naturalist Peter Gustaf Tengmalm, Miska and her three siblings are the first Tengmalm’s owls to be born at the centre.

Due to its shyness and evasive reaction to human activities, the breed is one one of the least seen owls in both North America and Europe.

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Senior keeper, Trystan Williams, said fluffy Miska will be kept at the centre, while the other three birds will go to breeding programmes.

He said it won’t take the chocolate brown owlets long to grow to the size of their adult parents, who weigh around 109 grams.

Trystan said: “The Tengmalm owl was once the most common bird in Europe but now they are very rare in the UK.

On her perch: Staff are excited about Miska’s arrival. SWNS

“This year was the first time one had been seen in Scotland in the wild for 100 years, so it’s nice timing for us to have the birth of these four.

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“They can get blown by storms and turn up in the Scottish islands. It’s the first time we have bred them at the centre.

“Three of the chicks have stayed with mum and dad in the aviary and will go off to breading programmes, some as far as Italy.

“Miska will stay with us as part of our display team.

“The chicks are a chocolate brown colour – they don’t even look real, which is why we named her Miska which mean little bear.

“Everyone at the centre has been really excited about the births.”


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