As you will have noticed, we have now closed the live camera feed down for this year and will resume the feed sometime in early February next year. The owls and their chicks have forsaken the tower and we hope to see new occupants in the New Year. We hope you have enjoyed the feed and thank you for your interest.
Our two owlets are now free flying and are rarely seen at the nest anymore. Once the parents are happy the chicks can hunt independently they will be encouraged to leave the area and find a breeding site of their own ready for next year.
We will soon be suspending the camera feed until early spring next year when we hope to see renewed activity at the tower.
This year the website has received over 35,000 visits from 37 different countries.
We hope to see you all in 2019.
Today’s screenshot shows one of our owlets consuming a short tailed vole.
The corn harvest is well advanced in South Lincolnshire and although the weather has been somewhat unsettled over the past few days, there is an abundance of prey for our two chicks and their parents.
The bird in the picture is surrounded by voles and field mice. Our adults have timed their breeding this year to perfection.
There will still be occasions in the next week or two when the owlets will be seen in the nest chamber but more and more they will be flying around the vicinity of the nest site and learning all the skills they will need to venture further afield this autumn.
Again this year we have welcomed visitors to our website from all over the world and we do hope you will log in again next spring to see if we are lucky enough to see our Tower occupied once again and the timeless cycle repeat itself.
The chicks are now old enough to explore the immediate area around the nesting chamber. We can expect to see them disappear for short periods soon. They will jump up into the tunnel (where they are hidden from camera view) as this is where the adults bring the food. The first owlet in the queue usually gets the prey item so their behaviour makes good sense. Barn owls often nest in holes high up in trees where this adventurous behaviour doesn’t always pay dividends as chicks have been known to fall to the ground in their eagerness to be first in the food queue. Our tower has been designed with this problem in mind, so hopefully, our chicks should be o.k. but there will be times when we shan’t see them for periods at feeding time.
You may have noticed that the webcam picture has degraded somewhat over the past few days, this appears to be caused by dust collecting on the camera lens as a result of the build up of detritus & pellets on the floor of the chamber being stirred up as the chicks become more active. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about this as we are unable to access the chamber until the chicks have left the tower. Like many people at the moment all we can do is pray for rain to settle the dust!
When we look at the two chicks it is hard to believe they will be flying in just over a month! Until then they will be totally dependent on the adult owls to provide their food. This past week prey has been abundant. Barn owls hunt by sound and these calm, warm nights are ideal. The rustling mouse attracts the owl’s attention and their incredible hearing ensures they can catch their prey in the long grass favoured by these rodents. Our parent owls have been bringing lots of food to the chicks and, weather permitting, this should continue as we enter cereal harvest time. For a few weeks there will be a glut of prey. Our owls have timed their egg laying to perfection. Those who have the opportunity to watch the webcam from around 9pm will hear the extraordinary hissing of the chicks. This carries for a mile on a calm night and spurs the adults into hunting until the chicks are satiated. We have an exciting few weeks ahead of us.
The website has received over twenty-six thousand hits in six months. Thirty-one countries are following the progress of our little family. This week we welcome our friends in Norway.
In answer to the queries raised by follower Wendy.
The Owl chicks were too young to be sexed. Similarly, the Kestrel chicks in the other tower are too young to be sexed but they were ringed.
Yesterday our two barn owl chicks were ringed. This will enable us to follow their journey should they ever be found in the future.
Our licensed ringers also caught the adult female. She had been ringed on 24th August 2016 as one of four chicks in a nest box on Billingborough Fen. So she has moved some seven and a half miles in a SSW direction. This information demonstrates how useful is the data we receive from ringing birds.
In the first tower built for the Len Pick Trust there were stock doves breeding in the bottom box. In the top box were three very healthy kestrel chicks.