Barn owl update – July 2019

It has been six weeks since our first barn owl egg hatched. At around six weeks old, well fed owlets can be 100g heavier than the adults.

Over the last three weeks the ‘owlets’ have been busy. The very thin covering the owlets develop after hatching has been replaced with a thicker down, allowing them to keep themselves warm.

The owlets are now able to feed themselves and squabbles over food are not uncommon; the female is now freed up to help the male with hunting duties. Over the last week the youngest owlet swallowed their first whole mouse. At this stage when hungry they will call endlessly for food. Even before one of the adults arrive they know it’s coming and start to jostle for position.

By week seven the amount of prey delivered to the owlets by the adult’s starts to decline.

At this point the owlets are typically moving their heads from side to side, round and round, even being able to look upside down! The characteristic heart-shaped face appears, and their flight feathers are starting to be seen underneath their white fluffy down.

Over the next few weeks we can expect the owlets to start their wing flapping exercises sending their down in all directions. We will also begin ringing the barn owls to help other conservationists identify and monitor the individual birds once they fully mature.

You can tune in at anytime to follow the owlets progress by following this link.