If you’ve followed my blog for a long time, you might recall that I was fortunate to have found a nesting population of Barn Owls (Tyto alba) and photographed the parents with a couple of youngsters (“Barney and Friends”). I might add that barn owls are considered rare and endangered in Missouri. In fact, until I was alerted to this family, I only occasionally heard about a known barn owl, and location was always undisclosed … due to the rarity of this bird in our area, it was not publicized. Since then, I have heard of a few more barn owl families, so I am under the impression that their numbers may be increasing. In either case, I am always happy to hear of a healthy family in the area!
Once the initial nesting was completed for my area’s barn owl family, I fabricated and installed a nest box for them in a large barn (the initial nesting was done inside a grain elevator, and the farm owner could not empty the grain until the owls had fledged). Since that time, they have nested, but I’ve not always been able to grab images of them, and definitely not the very young owls. So, when I learned in early January that a pair was once again seen in the barn, I immediately mounted one of my trail cams in the barn so that we could monitor their presence and activities, without interrupting them. Early last week, I picked up the SD card from the trailcam and installed an empty/formatted card. I ended up with 192 videos from the initial card! After finally making it through each of the videos, I have uploaded a few that shows some of the owls’ activities.
In these first 4 videos, there are either one or two adult Barn Owls that are engaged with various activities around the barn (Note: each of these videos is 16 seconds in length, with no editing):
Video #163 http://youtu.be/8ytb6ut_S-U
Video #166 http://youtu.be/rBBm-VHk8FA
Video #169 http://youtu.be/lKrPq6McvsM
Video #167 http://youtu.be/2tTVRs8psmo
And in this last video, I was fortunate to capture an actual mating of the pair!
Video #172 (mating) http://youtu.be/oejCQOuJZYw
The mating took place in the early morning, on January 18. I don’t know how long it will take for the eggs to be laid in the nest box (if anyone knows, please respond with that info in a comment on this posting :o) ). I do see that once laid, the eggs (4 to 7) will be incubated for 32-34 days. And the juveniles will fledge in 45-58 days. So, it won’t be long until Barney and mate will be very busy rounding up mice for the youngsters! In the meantime, I’m working up plans to set up my tripod/camera and try to capture some images of the new “furballs”. Should be interesting, as well as challenging, to capture them inside a barn! But definitely worth a try. I’m also making long-range plans to purchase/install a nest cam in the nesting box for next season (this would be installed in the off-season, when the nest box is not being used). And I’m hoping that there may be some way I could actually stream the nest cam videos/stills to my website, but that is very challenging for me. If anyone that reads this post has some useful information on nest cams that might be helpful, please e-mail me info at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photography Equipment Used (videos):
- Bushnell Trophy Cam, 8MP
- 16-second videos
- Sandisk 32GB SDHD card