An extremely fluffy Lesser Sooty Owl chick called Griffin has arrived at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo to join the Bird Show team.
Griffin was hatched at Featherdale Widlife Park and is being raised by Bird Show Supervisor Matt Kettle.
Although he looks like a ball of fluff right now, the eight-week male will soon be fully fledged and ready to fly.
Kettle said Griffin is well-loved at home.
“As soon as I walked in the door with him and set him down in his box, my four year old daughter came up and started telling him a story,” he said.
At home he stretches out in my lap while I watch TV and I give him a bit of a scratch. While nice for us, this is actually part of his training. This human interaction is important as he’ll be doing encounters and flying in the show one day so it’s essential that he’s prepared for anything.”
Griffin is already starting to lose his fluffy down feathers and explore his surroundings. Kettle notes how he’s “jumping off things getting ready to fly”.
Lesser Sooty Owls are found in Northern Quuensland whereas the more common Sooty Owls (the most nocturnal species of owl in Australia) prefer a dark rainforest habitat are very rarely spotted.
“They are very, very secretive birds,” said Kettle. “They aren’t very common to see. Even people who go out searching for Sooty Owls in Sydney find them hard to find.”
Kettle plans to take Griffin for walks around the Zoo and the chick will soon be practicing flying in the Bird Show amphitheatre.
“It’s so special for Griffin to be here with us as an ambassador for his species so people can come in and learn about these stunning owls.”