| 11.8°C Dublin

Vets are proud parents to homeless baby owls

US vets have stepped in to raise nine tiny Great Horned owls after the birds' nests were wiped out.

Baby Horned owls are rarely seen by the public because adult owls protect them aggressively, making it difficult to get near a nest.

The babies, five from one nest and four from another, are being hand-fed at Washington State University until they are strong enough to eat on their own.

The first four were brought to the university on April 13 at about a week old. Just four days later, the second group arrived at only a few days old.

"We've had Great Horned babies before, but in 10 years, I've never had any this young," said Dr Nickol Finch, who oversees the school's Raptor Rehabilitation Centre.

The palm-sized birds are living at WSU's Veterinary Teaching Hospital, where they are being fed cut-up mice soaked in water.

Four of the baby owls survived a fall to the ground near Colton, after someone unknowingly cut down a tree where they were nesting, Dr Finch said. The other five were brought to a vet after their nest was destroyed during a home conversion.