Many animals in nature have such strong maternal instincts that they will act as mothers to young ones who are not biologically their children. In a beautiful and mutually beneficial relationship, orphaned babies in need of a mother have been successfully paired with surrogate mothers.
That was recently the case after one childless owl was given two orphaned chicks to raise as her own, and she was overjoyed to be a mother.
Robert Fuller is a wildlife artist and photographer based in Thixendale, North Yorkshire, who works with wildlife rehabilitation. He’s watched Luna, a tawny owl, struggle to become a mother over the last two years.
Despite her best efforts, none of her children have lived. “Not only did her eggs fail to hatch this year, but she also lost her clutch last year,” Robert wrote.
However, a wonderful opportunity soon arose. Two orphaned owl chicks were looking for a mother to care for them while Luna struggled to have children.
The chicks were discovered on the ground on a nearby farm after falling to the ground. “Due to their young age, these owl chicks could perish of cold in a short space of time as at this age they should be constantly brooded by their parent,” Robert wrote.
So Robert placed the baby owls in Luna’s nest in the hopes that she would take care of them.
“I regularly place orphaned or lost owlets into tawny owl nests and these birds accept the young chicks as their own,” Robert said. “Their urge to protect and nurture is strong.”
The strategy worked remarkably well: a touching video shows Luna discovering the owl chicks in her nest, and she appears overjoyed to finally have children to mother.
When Luna spots the owl chicks, she doesn’t hesitate for a second before embracing them as her own, literally taking the orphaned chicks under her wing, as if cuddling and protecting them.
Luna “after a long wait,” Luna is “finally a mum.”
Robert said in an update that Luna was “doing a great job” raising the chicks and has been “so tender” with them. He says it won’t be long before the chicks are too old to brood, but for the time being, they’re in the safe hands of their adoring mother.
“These owlets have now been living in their new nest for a week and are thriving under Luna’s tender care. It is wonderful to watch her brood the youngsters,” he wrote.