Update 7/24/2017: Now that all five of the young barn owls have fledged, the camera has been shut down for the 2017 season. Thank you for following!

This camera is streaming live from the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation in Burlington, KS of a pair of nesting barn owls at their facility. Egg dates: egg #1 4/5, egg #2 4/9, egg #3 4/14, egg #4 4/7, egg #5 4/19, egg #6 4/21. Incubation period is 29–34 days.


 

Barn Owl Nesting Information

The female makes a simple nest of her own regurgitated pellets, shredded with her feet and arranged into a cup. Unlike most birds, owls may use their nest sites for roosting throughout the year. Nest sites are often reused from year to year, often by different owls.

Barn Owls don’t only live in barns. Historically they lived in many different types of rural buildings and tree hollows. Basically they will use anything that provides what they need: somewhere that gives them shelter from rain and wind and where they ‘feel safe’. Unless the site is extremely isolated, Barn Owls generally roost and nest at least 3 meters above ground level.

Barn Owls can breed in their first year. They don’t build a nest but usually choose a ledge in a building or a hollow in a tree where the white eggs are laid. The female starts to sit as soon as the first egg is laid - incubation takes 31 days. There can be an age difference of several days between owlets. On average, 5 - 6 eggs are laid, with 3 - 4 hatching and only 2 - 3 owlets actually fledging. One brood (family) per pair per year is normal, although in areas with good habitat and therefore a plentiful food supply, two broods in a year are possible.

Barn Owls are crepuscular; they hunt mainly at dusk and dawn, flying low over rough
grassland, hedges and ditches looking for voles, shrews and mice. Over a whole year
(including breeding) a pair of Barn Owls and their family may consume 5,000 small
mammals.

Barn Owls fly slowly over open fields at night or dusk with slow wingbeats and a looping, buoyant flight. They use their impressive hearing, aided by their satellite-dish-shaped faces, to locate mice and other rodents in the grass, often in complete darkness. Barn Owls are usually monogamous and mate for life, although there are some reports of males with more than one mate. Males attract their mates with several kinds of display flights, including a “moth flight” where he hovers in front of a female for several seconds, his feet dangling. He also displays potential nest sites by calling and flying in and out of the nest. After the pair forms, the male brings prey to the female (often more than she can consume), beginning about a month before she starts laying eggs. Barn Owls defend the area around their nests, but don’t defend their hunting sites; more than one pair may hunt on the same fields.


 



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Barn Owl Nesting Facts

Clutch Size:            2–18 eggs
Number of Broods:   1-3 broods
Egg Length:            1.5–1.7 in
                            3.9–4.4 cm
Egg Width:             1.2–1.3 in
                            3.1–3.4 cm
Incubation Period:    29–34 days
Nestling Period:       50–55 days
Egg Description:       Dull white, often dirtied by the nest.
Condition at Hatching:   Helpless, covered in white down.

How can you tell if a Barn Owl is male or female?
It is almost impossible to tell if a Barn Owl is male or female just seeing it fly overhead. However, a close look may give you a clue. Females often have darker brown feathers around the rim of the facial disc as well as darker bars on the tail and small black spots on the chest and underside of the wings. Males are generally lighter and a more pure white underneath.

Females are slightly heavier than males at around 360g (males usually weigh around 330g) although during the early breeding season females may weigh as much as 425g before egg laying.

What do Barn Owls eat?
Barn Owls are birds of prey, hunting and catching small mammals, mostly mice. They have some extraordinary specially adapted characteristics to help them hunt for food at night, such as incredibly sensitive hearing and the ability to see movement with very little light.

 



 

   
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