Two female barn owls in same box polygamous nesting

2006 Nestbox Video Log
Barn Owl Polygamy!

The following brief log of the 2006 same nest polygamous barn owl nesting is derived from casual observations of live video in my workshop. The complete videotapes will be reviewed this winter and this log completed.

3/30/2006 Pair barn owls discovered in nesting box
Pigeon on eggs in male box

3/31/2006 Pair still in nest box

4/1/2006 Pair have moved to male box for day roost

4/2/2006 Pair moved to silo for day roost – flushed to pines when I climbed silo

4/3/2006 Pair in silo again, flushed at 4pm. One returned to enter nest box at 7pm, after rain storm

4/4/2006 One owl in silo – flushed at 6pm

4/7/2006 Both owls using nest box again

4/10/2006 Both owls use nest box daily. Male uses perch

4/11/2006 Both owls exit nest box at 20:49

4/14/2006 Only female in nest box. First day male absent and first egg laid.

4/16/2006 2nd egg laid. female alone during day

4/17/2006 Both male and female present. 2 eggs
20:30 – male leaves box
21:32 – male returns and mates with female – no prey

4/18/2006 3 owls in nest box!!! 3rd egg laid. Only female I incubates
20:22 – female I grooms female II extensively
20:26 - male and female II exit box
20:30 - female II returns. female I steps off nest and vigorously preens female II for 3 minutes, then returns to incubate.
20:34 – female 2 leaves box
20:37 - female I leaves (box is empty)
20:45 - female I returns and resumes incubation
20:48 - female II returns
20:50 - male returns and mates with female II
female I steps off nest and preens female II, then returns to incubate, male exits box

4/19/2006 21:04 - female II returns, female I greets, then returns to nest, female II soon leaves.
21:14 - owl arrives at entrance (not in camera view). female I leaves nest
21:16 - female I returns to nest to incubate.
21:17 - male returns, tosses vole to female I and mates with female II, then leaves.
21:19 – 2 female’s preen each other
00:33 – resume taping – 2 females present
00:43 - male brings prey and mates with female I.
00:46 - male mates with female II.
01:02 – 2 female’s preen briefly
01:18 - male returns with vole, leaves
01:36 – both female ‘s leave box.
01:39 - female I returns to incubate
02:32 - male returns, rubs beaks, then mates with female II, then exits box.
02:59 - male returns, mates with female I and presents vole to female I.
03:02 - male exits box, female I eats vole
04:58 - female II enters box
05:12 - female II fed at entrance (male out of camera view)
05:17 – All three owls in box
05:38 - male mates with female I on nest, then exits box.

4/20/2006 16:14 – 4th egg observed
20:22 - begin recording
20:28 - female II shares incubation?? Very near eggs
20:30 - male arrives, mates and leaves
20:45 - female’s change places at nest, female II turns eggs
20:47 - female I resumes incubation
20:57 – Both females incubating
21:19 - female II returns
21:22 - female I returns, greets female II and begins to incubate
21:23 - male returns, mates with female II, presents a vole, and mates again.

4/21/2006 All 3 adults in nest box during day

4/22/2006 male roosts in box again

4/23/2006 male not present, 5th egg in nest
20:35 - male returns to box, , mates with female I on nest, remains in nest – no food. female’s very vocal (hungry?). male preening (why not hunting?)
20:43 - Male and female II leave, female I incubates
20:50 - female II returns, greets female I, then perches on perch

4/24/2006 male roosts in box, 5 eggs
female II frequently preens female I, also lots of beak rubbing. Preening often lasts over 10 seconds.

4/25/2006 male not in box during day

4/26/2006 All three in box during day

4/27/2006 All three in box during day

4/28/2006 6 eggs (last likely laid yesterday – check video)

4/29/2006 male in silo, females sharing incubation. female I does most incubation, gently pushing under female II to regain incubation after taking break.

4/30/2006 male present during day, 7 eggs

5/1/2006 male present

5/2/2006 male present
13:40 - 8 eggs present
13:53 - female II pulls egg from under female I and begins to incubate.

5/3/2006 away – no observation

5/4/2006 male not present during day, 8 eggs
17:35 – good example of females competing for incubation. female I straddles female II
20:12 - male arrives and mates with female II.

5/10/2006 10 eggs!

5/18/2006 2 hatchlings (one likely from previous day)

6/1/2006 At least 5 young observed

6/3/2006 male came late – around 23:00. (May have missed earlier visit – didn’t record) . male brought mouse and stayed in box on perch.
23:45 - female II leaves box
23.51 - male returns with prey, mates with female I
23:52 - female II returns and male leaves. 2 female’s greet – rub beaks.
23:55 – 2 females compete for incubation and brooding
00:30 - female’s feeding very young nestlings – newly hatched?

6/5/2006 At least 6 young

6/7/2006 09:21 – 2 females share vole

09:40 – 2 females sharing vole and feeding young
female II begins to hunt

6/8/2006 7 young and 1 egg
16:00 – good feeding video

6/9/2006 17:09 – large nestling preening very small nestling

6/12/2006 22:51 - female II hunts – returns with vole, passes to female I
23:18 – all three adults present

6/23/2006 Only one female at day roost

6/28/2006 One female still present at day roost

6/29/2006 Adults not present
22:35 - 2 older nestlings squabble over prey. One trying to swallow backwards – succeeds!

6/30/2006 female not present second day

7/21/2006 6 nestlings in box during day. One seen in top window at night.

7/22/2006 5 nestlings in box during day

7/23/2006 5 in box – practicing jumping and grabbing and wing flapping.

7/28/2006 4 in box during day

7/29/2006 5 in box again

7/30/2006 Only 4 nestlings in box again

7/31/2006 Only 3 nestlings in box

8/1/2006 Only 2 nestlings in box

8/2/2006 3 nestlings in box

8/3/2006 2 nestlings in box

8/4/2006 2 nestlings in box

8/5/2006 2 nestlings in box

8/8/2006 Box empty!

back to 2006 polygamous barn owl nesting


2010 - 2014 Northern flicker nestings
2014 house wren gourd use
2014 - A dramatic loss of many types of insects
barn swallow artificial nest cups
2014 barn owl nesting - prey study
A new barn swallow shelter for 2013
2010 barn owl nesting
2010 Update
Entire site index (outdated)
Starling traps
Using blinds in the home habitat
Providing perches for birds
Providing snags for wildlife
The ugly young maple
2001 - 2013 nest cams
Use of tomato cages as hunting perches by insectivorous song birds
Vultures, beetles and the resurrection of life

Species of interest in our yard - photos and articles
barn owl American kestrel purple martin barn swallow Eastern bluebird
tufted titmouse Eastern phoebe yellow shafted flicker tree swallow chimney swift
house wren big brown bat Carolina wren brown thrasher catbird
cedar waxwing Northern mockingbird
Yellow warbler Acadian flycatcher

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©2006 Richard Van Vleck, American Artifacts