Here we are the 1st of September and less than four months to Christmas and I am still keeping tabs on breeding owls!
At the Barn Owl site where we have the nest box camera the birds are still doing just fine and the hen owl continues to sit tight on her second clutch of the year. This screen shot below was taken last night and it shows the hen bird rearranging her 7 eggs, although only 6 can be seen! The cock bird continues to keep her fed with plenty of field mice and voles being delivered, look closely in the box and the rodent larder can be seen .
It is difficult to say exactly when the first egg will hatch but my estimation is somewhere in between the 6th & 12th of this month. If this is the case and the timing from hatching to leaving the nest is similar to the 4 chicks they had earlier in the year then they won't be fledging until early December!
Once the eggs hatch the parent owls are going to have their work cut out catching enough prey if all the chicks are going to survive. I am looking forward to that period because the owls drop their normal nocturnal activities and can be seen out hunting in the early evening. If it is anything like when they had their first brood the viewing will be excellent and undoubtedly there will be some photo opportunities.
Below is previously unpublished image that I captured of one of the hunting birds earlier in the year, a reminder of good times.
Here's hoping that the weather keeps mild and there are still plenty of voles for the owls to catch, sadly I fear the worst!