Now the kestrels have fledged you can now watch our three barn owl chicks live via http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/a/arne/webcam.aspx.
They aren't very active during the day but watch during the evening as the parents bring them voles and mice that they catch on the heath and farmland close to their nest.
Feel free to use the forum to post any observations or questions and we will do are best to answer them!
Barn owl chicks take atleast 55 days to fledge which is a big difference to the kestrel chicks which fledged after 35 days. The oldest chick is about 50 days old and the youngest is about 40 days old so there is still abit of time before they all fledge. Female barn owls don't delay incubation of their eggs unlike the kestrels so there is always a big difference in chick size with the oldest being the most dominant and likely to eat its smaller siblings. It sounds gruesome but it is a survival mechanism and will see the older chicks through periods when food is scarce and often ensures that atleast one chick will always fledge. In the case of this nest they all look healthy and there has been plenty of food so fingers crossed for the smallest one.
Enjoy watching and listen out for the extremely scary noises they make!
Gosh they do certainly make strange noises don't they, sounds like Darth Vader is just outside! Nothing birdlike at all. Do the parents make that noise, too or just the youngsters?P'raps it's a good thing we haven't got to know them from hatching as I have a horrible feeling about the little'un, I know it's all about survival etc but it's on a live webcam!
Couldn't resist a quick photographic stakeout of the nestbox area last night:
They are beautiful birds to watch - this is going to be fun!
A rat or a mouse? Larger version in the Photos gallery.
Lovely photos, hope you are comfortably 'bivouaced' there now for us all!
Dom, your photos are excellent, as usual. Thank you! We are so lucky to have you on-site at Arne so often and willing to post photos.
Barn Owls look amazing (I don't have a wonderful framed L.E. print of a Barn Owl in flight over my fire-place for nothing!!!) I would love to learn of their lives. Such fabulously eerie noises they make! I've seen siblings eating the youngest on Springwatch, not nice at all but I guess you either get your head round it or you don't. I've struggled but I'm at a place of understanding - it's what they do for survival.
Haven't watched long enough to know where the entance is to the box - think it must be above judging from the youngsters reactions?? I'll keep watching ...
Yes - you would have to "get your head round it" or it would be impossible to digest. :-)
Did anyone see them getting fed yesterday evening by any chance? And if so roughly what time? Must get dark inside this nestbox quite quickly compared to the more brightly lit kestrel box.
I should add that the photos above were taken at the RSPB's invitation - the site of the nestbox itself is off-limits. But they can be observed in flight from public areas of the reserve nearby.
Actually the box never gets dark guys, as it is technically always in darkness (it is not open fronted like the kestrels) but the camera has a light (which the owls can;t see) so it is open for viewing 24 hours.....
Hazel the box is a big deep cube with a hole in the top corner to one side with a deep ledge underneath to stop the chick falling out when they start investigating.
For all things barn owly including loads of nest box info go the barn owl trust web site www.barnowltrust.org.uk/infopage.html - That doesn't mean I'm being lazy and wont put info on here but it does look a very interesting website!
Didn't see any feeding last night Dom so maybe it's very early hours in the morning. Maybe we could take turns on computer 'night watch'?!!! I might set my alarm for 2-3am tomorrow, but won't take bets on it!
I like the way they scrutinize each other's faces whilst swaying from side to side. But also slightly intimidating!
All seemed to get very twitchy and lots of wing stretching at 9pm in fact one had a run up from the back and looked as though it was trying to fly off but then all settled down again.
9.50pm one seems to be eating, can't see what, missed its arrival, almost being fought over. Is it just my computer or do others find the cam constantly freezing, ie every 2 or 3 mins, had the same with the kestrel cam.
10.10pm something dropped down from top left hand side of the box, dark, bit rodent-like, so not seeing the parent/s at all.
One tucking into it, long tail - mouse? seems a bit big for vole but too small for rat? the other two just letting it get on with it
And another tucking into another one which just missed while writing this so seems like the food is coming in fast now - 10.15pm