A sad end for Leuven owl family: father dead, mother missing and chicks taken to a bird sanctuary

There are no more eagle-owls in the centre of the Flemish Brabant city of Leuven. The Leuven Alderman responsible for the Environment Thomas Van Oppens (green) has told VRT News that the family of eagle owls that had taken up residence in the heart of Leuven have now all gone. The father owl has died, while the mother owl has flown the nest and has not been seen for some time. Council workers used cherry-pickers to rescue the eagle-owl chicks out of the nest built by their parents in Leuven City Centre. The chicks were found to be malnourished. They were taken to the bird sanctuary at Heusden-Zolder in Limburg Province. 

The owls had set up home in a nest that they had built at a building belonging to Leuven University (KUL). They had been there for around 6 months. In the spring the two adult owls were joined by their three chicks.

The city authorities and the university kept the exact location of the nest a secret. Last week the mother owl was found to have gone missing and the father owl died. The chicks that were almost ready to fly the nest remained. However, malnourishment meant that they were in bad health.

Writing on his Facebook wall the Leuven City Environment Alderman Thomas Van Oppens said that he hopes that the chicks make it. "This morning the father owl was unfortunately found dead under the nest. The mother owl appears to not have been seen for several days and two of the chicks had fallen out of the nest. The last chick that was still in the nest was brought down by a cherry picker. It was decided that the chicks should be taken to the bird sanctuary in Heusden-Zolder. They are being well cared for there and we hope for a speedy recovery”.


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