The 2020 story of the barn owl in Théding:
A nesting box dedicated to the barn owl
Following barn owls visits in the kestrel nesting box in 2018 and 2019, we decided to install a connected nesting box dedicated to the barn owl. This birdhouse is placed in the same attic as the hawks in February 2019, but a different exit has been thought out so as not to cross paths with the owl / hawk rivals . You can learn more about the installation of this nest box in clicking on the button below.
Unfortunately to date (21/02/2020), 1 year after the nest box was installed, no owl visit has yet been observed. A couple of pigeons have been visiting the nest since January 2020. They go there more and more often and stay there for a long time, lovingly ... For info, the male is bigger and has white wing tips.
Births of baby pigeons
The brooding was very regular and was shared by the couple: the female broods approximately from 5 p.m. to 11 a.m. the next day, and the male replaces her from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. That morning, the male discovers his first chick who was born on the night of March 16. The second was born a few hours later, in the company of the father. The mother discovers him on her return.
A second nest on the way!
A second brood was started on April 10 with the laying of an egg. The 2nd egg was laid on April 12th. The youngsters from the 1st brood have not yet flown; they are 25 days old.
A squab incubates the eggs of the 2nd litter!
This 29 day old youngster took part in the brooding by replacing the parents during their absence.
The barn owl appears for the first time.
The pigeons led a very quiet life. A first brood with 2 young birds in flight (finally one of the 2 youngsters died later, of disease). A 2nd brood with 2 eggs (laid on April 10 and 12) which did not give anything. And finally a 3rd brood with 2 eggs laid on May 04 and 06. But at nightfall on May 6, while the female is incubating her eggs, accompanied by one of the two youngsters from the 1st litter, a barn owl enters the nest box and chases the pigeons. They won't come back ... Now, the owl seems to have taken possession of the nesting box and returns the following night to stock up on food. Spotting a nesting box for a future brood? This year or next year?
The owl spends its first day in the nest box
This is a first, the barn owl (male) uses the nest box as a dormitory and spends the entire day of May 09 inside! At nightfall, this nocturnal bird resumes its activities.
1st couple visit for barn owls!
On May 12, it seems that a male barn owl showed a female around our nesting box! After 10 minutes of "dancing" and "singing" performance by the male, a female appeared in front of the camera. Finding a nesting site? Courtship ritual ? Will our birdhouse appeal to this couple?
A day at the nest box to sleep
On May 22, the couple spent their first day together at the nesting box to sleep. For the female its the first time that she stays there for so long.
Barn owls are more and more present in the nest and their activity is increasing. Here, we can observe a mating in the nest box! (video of May 23)
Cuddles and Couplings
The female barn owl spends her days in the nesting box to sleep. And at night: hunting, cuddling and mating!
The 1st egg!
This is a first under our Théding cameras: reproduction of a barn owl! The female laid a 1st egg on June 06 around 10 p.m. One egg will be laid every 2-3 days up to 2-7 eggs. Brooding begins immediately, which will cause an age difference between all of the little owls.
A clutch of 8 eggs!
Here are the spawning dates. 2nd eggs: 08/06 (10 p.m.) | 3rd egg: 11/06 (11am) | 4th egg: 13/06 (4 p.m.) | 5th egg: 16/06 (1pm) | 6th egg: 18/06 (9 p.m.) | 7th egg: 21/06 (9am) | 8th egg: 23/06 (11 p.m.)
On July 7th around 8 p.m., the first small hooked beak appeared under the gaze of the female and the male.
During the night, the male went to fill the pantry. It is only in the early morning that the female performs the first feeding: while remaining lying on the eggs, she shreds the prey and gives a few small pieces to the young. At the end, she finishes the mouse by swallowing what is left of it. (08/07)
Feeding the 4 little owls
After 8 days of the 1st birth, they are now 4 chicks. Meals are given even during the day thanks to the reserves supplemented by the male during the night. This video shows a feeding, at the end, one of the young is accidentally ejected further out. (16/06)
13 days old and largely capable of swallowing whole prey
In this video, the male brings prey to his family. The female lets the cubs fight over it. Finally, it is the oldest (13 days) who will swallow this large prey, and rather easily! (20/07)
8th and last birth!
8 eggs laid (17 days between the laying of the 1st and the last) the 8 young arrived at an interval of 2-3 days. 19 days separate the 1st and the last, this age difference is noticeable. (26/07)
Difficult to be the last!
The youngest is the size of a mouse: it could be swallowed by the elders. This scenario actually occurs when the food is not sufficiently abundant, which is not the case for the moment. (26/07)
After a meal, the rejection balls occur! They are added to the many balls that now form the floor of the nest box. (27/07)
An intruder approaches
During the day of 28/07, the resting female notices that an intruder, a kestrel, has landed at the entrance to the nest box, it is immediately chased away!
The youngest gets eaten alive!
5 days old, the youngest was swallowed alive by one of his elders! The scene occurred as the mother was feeding another chick with prey. The food was however sufficient; indeed, there was still at least 1 uneaten prey (on the left in the nest box), put in reserve since the previous night. (31/07)
Installation of an outdoor camera
At night fall of August 1st, during the parents absence, an outdoor camera (of the same model as the 1st camera) was installed in order to film the perch. So we can see the parents arriving with the preys and we will be able to attend the 1st flight! As the camera is motorized, it also makes it possible to observe "the corridor" (area located before the nesting chamber).
Number 7 was too weak ...
The little owl number 7 died on the night of August 03 to 04. Too young to swallow its meal alone, this juvenile no longer received any help from the mother to shred the prey. So it weakened and died of hunger.
The brood alone for the first time during the day
Since the eldest birthday (1 month), the female no longer spends her days in the nest box with her brood. They are now big enough and no longer need its warmth. (08/07)
Explore the hallway!
On the morning of August 09, a first exploration in the corridor towards the exit! It is the second (exterior) camera, facing the nest box, which makes it possible to obtain these images.
The heatwave has settled in Théding, it is also hot in the nest box. On August 09, one of the little owls got hot and unwell . We took it out of the nest box around 1 p.m. to rehydrate it and keep it cool and in the dark until the evening when we put it back in the nest box.
You have to build your wings, and for that, nothing better than to flap your wings and disturb your brothers and sisters. (11/08)
Curiosity pushes the little owls to explore a part of the nest box still unknown: the corridor that leads to the outside. (11/08)
Delivery at the entrance
The little owls have understood the system and are now waiting for the parents at the entrance to the nest box. Each in turn, they receive a whole prey. (15/08)
The 1st time on the platform
16/08 is the first time that one of the little owls has ventured onto the outdoor platform. Observation, beating of wings and back inside. But very quickly, will return, followed by others.
Nest box training
Even during the day, certain periods are suitable for training: wing beats, jumps and shredding of rejection balls! All the means are good to build the wings and legs to get fit for leaving the nest box. Even the youngest gets into it! (17/08)
During the nap, new rejection balls appear and complete the already well supplied mat! (18/08)
One of the little owls has fallen!
Probably at the start of the night, one of the little owls fell from the nest box. Maybe pushed during one of the first deliveries? It was not the oldest. Fortunately, it was found alive in the garden during the morning and was placed back in the nest box.
Preys must be earned on arrival; but generally once caught, they are no longer disputed ... except this time when the prey was substantial ! (22/08)
An elders offers its prey to a younger
This cute video proves that sibling bonding can be very beautiful, even in the barn owl! (23/08)
Kisses to 3
Owls are very cuddly. The couple gave a lot of "kisses" and now the young birds among them too. (30/08)
Dormouse on the menu
Bigger than a mouse or a field mouse, the gray dormouse is a nocturnal mammal. The young owl who received the delivery from one of the parents took several minutes to swallow it up. (08/31)
1st flight ... and back!
That's it, the older ones are starting to fly! They leave and return to the nest box. (02/09)
Young owls master the flight
All owls can fly now. Return trips to the nest box are observed all night; but they also visit the surroundings. (21/09)
Video review of the 2020 Théding bird season
Kestrel, blue tit, great tit, redstart, pigeon and barn owl made the show in front of our cameras in 2020. Here is a recap of this year rich in emotions!