Every year fluffy owlets are found on the ground and are picked up by well meaning members of the public in the mistaken belief that they're 'orphans'. In most cases the young owl is perfectly fine and just needs to be left alone. If a healthy young Tawny has been mistakenly picked up, it can be returned to the same spot just before dusk, and its parents will continue to feed it. It's important that the Tawny owlet is returned to where it was found on the same day, as youngsters that have been kept away from the nesting area for more than 24 hours, may not be accepted back by the parents.
By the time a young Tawny is 3-4 weeks old it will start 'branching'. This describes a period of natural behaviour when young Tawny's walk, climb, jump and flutter around in the trees at night, occasionally falling to the ground. A healthy young Tawny is normally quite capable of getting itself back up into the tree by using its wings, talons and beak to scramble back up. However, if you feel the owlet is in a dangerous position, then pick it up and place it in the nearest tree... but BEWARE! In the case of the Tawny Owl, the female can be very protective towards her offspring, and may potentially attack anything she feels is a threat to her chick.
In the case of Barn Owl and Little Owl chicks, they don't 'branch' and, should they fall from their nest they will most certainly die. The parent bird's won't feed them once they're on the ground, and they're quite unable to scrabble back to their nest themselves. Therefore, the chick does need your help and, if uninjured, should be picked up and returned to the nest hole, or box, as soon as possible.
If the owlet you have found is obviously injured, is lying on its side, is soaking wet, is constantly calling, or has flies buzzing around it, then it will need to be rescued. Please follow our emergency care for baby birds link.