'Autumn' in the webcam nest
Monday 7th November 2016
Barn Owl by Neil Higginson
Our live Barn Owl webcam from our Blue House Farm nature reserve (North Fambridge) is back, for the fifth year in a row - and this year, for the first time, we have had a second brood in the nest.
The footage has been riveting and, at times, brutal, providing a fascinating insight into the natural world, via life inside a nest box late in the year.
Five chicks hatched, from an original batch of seven eggs (two eggs were temporarily discarded, so we only expected a maximum of five chicks). The youngest two chicks, sadly, soon died in the nest, leaving three chicks.
In early October the middle chick died and the smaller of the two remaining also perished (of starvation), leaving just one chick.
We are pleased to say that this lone chick has flourished and now (the first week of November) it is expected to fledge the nest very soon. When it was ringed by us and British Trust for Ornithology in late October, the chick was identifed as female and she has been named 'Autumn' by the loyal band of people who avidly follow the footage.
Earlier in the summer, two chicks successfully fledged from the same nest - the female had laid four eggs but two were discarded.
It is certainly not unheard of for Barn Owls to have a second brood in a year - an estimated 1 in 10 pairs do and, in some years, the percentage is higher. Successful fledging of any chicks in a second brood does, however, depend on there being a good supply of voles across September and October - and predominantly dry, calm and warm weather to help the adults hunt.
It is important to remember that these are wild birds; we are not allowed to interfere with breeding Barn Owls or their nest. Thank you to all our loyal 'Barny Army' viewers who watch the footage so closely and keep everyone up-to-date with the very latest happening in the nest, via our Facebook page.
Thanks to Neil Higginson for the fantastic image of a Barn Owl in flight, taken in 2015 at Blue House Farm.
Keep up-to-date with all the Barn Owl news by visiting our Facebook page
Please note that this is live, unedited footage of Barn Owls; at times, it is possible that there may be disturbing images of the natural world.
Thanks to Wildlife Gadgetman for his technical expertise.
If you are having problems viewing our Barn Owl webcam try downloading the latest version of Adobe Flash: http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ Click on download and follow the on screen instructions.