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Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

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June 14, 2010

Stow Away Baby Barn Owl & Web Cam

The other day Dominic was doing some tractor work, moving some things from around our house down the hill to the ranch.  After about an hour I hear the tractor pull up to the front of our house, Dominic had come up to ask me for my help.  Help with putting one of the baby Barn Owls back up in it's nest. 

Remember the baby Barn Owl story from a few weeks ago?

Well, apparently one of them had stowed away on the tractor and had been going along for a ride all throughout Dominic's morning work.  What an adventure for the little guy!

The only problem with trying to get the little guy (he's not so little anymore) back up into his nest is that it might freak out the other baby owls.  Because now there are four babies.  I believe there are two sets of chicks sharing the nest now, or maybe I didn't see the other two chicks a few weeks ago....not sure.

Sure enough, as soon as we walked up, another baby came down.  They are just learning how to fly, so they can get down but not back up.

This must be the defense stance they take when they feel threatened because he didn't like me coming too close.

Here's the two of them huddled together in a corner.

Dominic leaned a plank board from the ground to their nest for them to walk up......apparently this has worked in past years.

The other two new babies were watching from above.

'Sneaky' was hiding on the tractor tucked away under the bucket arm.

On the yellow area.

A few hours later I checked on them to see if they had figured out how to use the plank to get back to their nest.

And they had!  You can see one of them on the left and I'm sure the other one is hiding up there as well.
The plank was taken down (and will be used as needed) so that raccoons and other predators will not be able to gain access to them. 

We like Barn Owls.  They feed on gophers, mice and other nuisances we have hanging around.

I sure hope they learn to fly soon!

I found the NEATEST thing while researching Barn Owls!!  Below is a link to a LIVE web cam at Starr Ranch featuring a nesting barn owl!  It's the coolest thing.  What a great learning experience for all ages. 

I spoke with Pete, the ranch manager via email to gain permission to include the web cam link on my blog post.  He gave me permission and he also offered to help by talking me through a set up of a web cam on our barn owls.  Thanks Pete!  Maybe we'll do this next spring:)

Yesterday, Bryce, Paige and I checked the web cam at around 1:40 p.m. and observed Mama Owl feeding on a field mouse or gopher she had caught and brought back to the nest.  Good timing!

Soon there will be babies to observe.

Go to Starr Ranch Sanctuary to view the live, nesting Barn Owl.

Happy Monday!

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Pat Tillett said...

Wow! they are so amazingly beautiful! Especially in the first photo...Those colors!!!
great post Nancy!

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

Nancy- I love getting a peek into your life.
Such a great post- really great photos.

k. said...

Those are really nice photos. Also, thanks for the link to the web cam. That was really cool.

Dadu said...

Hi, I'm from a newly forming group called Stacey O'Brien's American Barn Owl Alliance. We are working to get barn owl nest boxes regulated for the success of the owlets safely fledging and branching. Your story was found by one of our members and it perfectly illustrates the need for an apparatus that ensures the babies can make it back to their box. The world seems unaware that barn owls cannot fly for a couple of weeks after they fledge. We plan to help educate about that as well as other issues involved with man-made nest boxes erected on poles. It is obvious that you love these barnies and are concerned for their well-being.

Anonymous said...

It is not true that barn owls cannot fly for a couple of weeks after they fledge! That is a blanket statement. Video from an owl cam of some years ago shows owls flew straight out of their box on the first attempt. It may have something to do with how much room they have to flap inside the nest - that develops their flight muscles. If there's no room to flap before leaving the box, then they might not be able to fly right away, but if there was room to flap and gain strength, then they MAY be able to do some flying upon leaving the box. I don't know, but what I do know is that not all situations are the same. It's so important with wildlife not to make black and white statements. That being said I agree with the work the Barn Owl Alliance is attempting to do for educating people to take more responsibility for their owl boxes when they put them up. Since you are in Marin there's a good resource called The Hungry Owl Project at, a project of WildCare - they care for many displaced barn owls every year. You might want to consider cleaning that nest platform a bit after they do fledge...

Anonymous said...

So GREAT to see people concerned with helping these owls. I never knew that we shouldn't use rat poison to get rid of rodents because a slow, sick rodent is easy to catch but the owls or other animals eating the poisoned rodent will die too. So now I am spreading the word not to use that stuff.