Found a baby bird of prey
If you find a baby bird of prey on the ground then, in general - with the exception of tawny owlets - they won't be fed by their parents and will need help.
Renesting baby birds of prey require a professional
Renesting and reuniting young birds of prey with parents is possible, and in some cases, it may even be possible to place nestlings into wild nests of the same species to be fostered alongside existing chicks. However, this may require a licence and must be done by a professional.
Contact a professional rehabilitator and record exactly where the infant was found using the what3words app so the nest can be located. If possible, make a note of when the parents were last seen.
Monitor the area for other young birds which may have fallen and, if you can, keep monitoring after the birds have been reunited in case the chick falls out again.
Contact a professional
Birds of prey should only be handled by professionals, using leather gloves or a thick towel, as they have strong and sharp talons which are capable of causing significant damage to handlers.
Keep pets and people away, and contact your local wildlife rehabilitation centre or vet for advice. If they're unavailable call us on 0300 1234 999.
Healthy tawny owlets (fluffy brown feathers and pink eyelids) go through a branching phase, leaving the nest long before they can fly.
The adults use contact calls to locate them and will continue feeding them on the ground. They can climb vertically up a tree trunk back into the nest and should be left where they are unless they are in a position of danger. If the owlet is in danger, they should be placed in the tree or off the ground only a short distance away.
If you've already boxed the owlet
If you've already confined a healthy baby tawny owl it will need to be returned to the exact place it was found as soon as possible before dusk. Once returned it will need to be monitored from a distance.
If you hear the parents and owlet calling to each other it should be fine left alone. However, monitor from a distance to ensure the parents feed the owlet and return to check again in 24 and 48 hours.
If the owlet cannot be returned before dusk, or the parents don't return, you'll need to contact a professional rehabilitator.
Further information on what to do if you find a baby owl is available on the Barn Owl Trust website.