Richard and Diane Van Vleck Personal Pages
The Home Habitat
Barn Owl 2012 Nesting
The barn owls renested this year in the north box, successfully rearing 6 young. There appeared to be at least two helper owls bringing prey to the entrance perch, but not entering. This may suggest that I need to provide a second nest box, perhaps in the front yard near the kestrel tower. The two species get along fine, especially since they work different shifts.
A Summary of the 2012 Barn Owl Nesting Chronology
Feb. 1 - 23:32 - One owl enters the box for 5 minutes.
Barn owl 2013 nestings
There were two barn owl nestings this year. One nest was in the box on the north wall of the barn, as in the previous two years and the other was discovered in the entrance to the silo. The two nestings were several weeks out of sync and it is not clear whether this involved only one male or two. No video was used in the silo and an adult was never present by the time I opened the door.
The North Wall Box
1/8/2013 Both male and female remain in the box all day and most of the night. This continues until 5/2, when the male began to use the top of the silo for his day roost.
3/30/2013 The first egg is laid.
4/1/2013 The second egg is laid. No more eggs were laid. Incubation proceeded as normal.
5/3/2013 The first egg hatches.
5/4/2013 The second egg hatches
6/18/2013 Female spends first day away from nest box. this continues for the remainder of the nesting.
7/9/2013 The first owlet is out of the box during the day, returns 7/10, out again 7/11, returns 7/12-15.
7/16/2013 The box is empty
The Silo Nesting
This second nest was discovered 6/12/2013 in the entrance to the silo - a small room between the silo and the first floor wood shop. The door to the workshop had been sealed off and insulated for several years, so the nesting owls were not detected earlier. The opposite entrance into the silo is an 18" x 28" opening 30" above the floor. The 4 young owlets were huddled in wet debris and owl droppings and pellets on a cold concrete floor, looking quite miserable. Granted, this location is safe from predation. Reaching the nestlings would require a winged creature who could land on the top of the silo, drop down 42 feet to the bottom and pass through the 18" opening into the entrance room. And, in late summer, the underground room would be cool. But, the cement floor is always damp and often soaking wet from cracks in the walls and floor. Also, while this is the first time owls have nested in the entrance room, they had, years ago, nested in both the top and bottom of the silo. Nestlings on the bottom of the silo had great difficulty flying straight up to the top and the youngest sometimes were abandoned when the age difference was great. And, nestlings on the top platform over the ladder tunnel tended to fall off and end up on the bottom. However, this nesting was successful and all 4 fledged without my help. Their efforts to scale the silo wall were documented by deposits of whitewash under slight horizontal ridges on the wall where they could gain a foothold.
This winter I am converting the silo to a chimney swift tower and an additional owl box has been installed on the north wall of the barn. The boxes are being video monitored and female owls have visited the new box as well as the one used this year. It may have been the same owl visiting both boxes. The new box is rather close to the kestrel box, but the kestrels haven't seemed to mind all the owl activity on the north end of the barn the past two years. A kestrel even entered the owl box this summer when the two older nestlings were present. It looked around for a moment and then left. Neither species seemed bothered but an adult owl wasn't present. The new box and it's entrance are shown below.
2018 - The Barnyard Balance of Nature Goes Awry
|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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