Injured BNOW chick ID

05/19/11 Last night was able to read the band on the chick with the leg situation. You may recall they were all banded with the same size band so numbers were all the same except the last digit. Thanks to jmm digging thru past comments (and saving me from going thru notes) we can see that age estimates corresponded to band # in that youngest ended in 51 and oldest 55. The chick in question is 53, right in the middle. This is important to know and a reason we band. Good to know where it is in the age hierarchy and if and when this chick moves on or dies and is recaptured or found it might tell us a lot about what effect the injury had, if any. Pete

Question to ponder

05/10/11 The following comments were not lost on me, were good ones, and I will respond as soon as I can. Just want you to know I’m paying attention and appreciate any and all questions and comments. To me the comment portion of this site is about sharing and learning. Anything goes as long as it’s respectful and thoughtful. The only comments I’ll delete are those which have foul language or are spam (which thankfully have been few). Otherwise, you talk owls, I’m listening – and I hope everyone else is too and doesn’t hesitate to weigh in. Pete


03-25-11 pre Banding Day on 03-26-11

Banding tomorrow will be webcast around 1PM PST*. Hope you can tune in.  But please understand that if we get a lot of folks tuning in it may push the servers beyond what they can take and, if so, some may see “Server busy, please try later”.  May not happen but if it does I apologize in advance.  It’s really hard to gauge how many want to watch and when, what I need to do to make sure everyone can, and how to pay for it.  But I’m peddling as fast as I can.  Thanks.  Pete

*Between 12:30 and 1PM I will bring out the GHOW to talk about owl life history.  I should be able to do this on the webcast.  So you might want to tune in a little earlier than 1PM.


Friendly reminder

Support this WebcamThis is coming to you live from Starr Ranch and it ain’t part of your cable TV package… I work really hard to keep both cams going and to have a spam free area to post your comments (which are great!). And please remember that these BNOW cams are just part of what we do and offer here at Starr Ranch. So if you like watching and learning here, please consider helping us out. Thanks. Pete

Visiting Starr Ranch

Starr Ranch, due to access and liability issues, to say nothing of a very small FT staff (Sandy, Scott and me) cannot accommodate  “drop in” visitation.  However, we offer a lot of opportunities for folks to be here.  Please check out our home page for listings of our events, programs for kids and adults, and opportunities for volunteering. Or email us at if you want to get email alerts about upcoming opportunities.  Pete

Possible need to temp shut down comments

IMPORTANT: Traffic to our website has increased significantly (unrelated to bandwidth used viewing the cams) and is overloading the CPU allotment we have from our web host.  So I need to try some things to isolate the problem.  This will include disabling comments for a period to see if this is the reason.  If I can I will post here the time period I will do this.

Please be patient and understand that if I don’t do this the entire site might go down until I find a solution.  This is purely a hardware/software/hosting issue and has nothing to do with curtailing any dialog.  I would never do that.  The comments are an extremely important part of learning and viewing experience we are trying very hard to provide.  Thanks for understanding.  Pete

Cam Problems

03/07/11 PTZ fixed.  Sorry it was down so long.  Just a lot of other stuff going on at Starr Ranch and I was just now able to get to it.  Pete

03/06/11 The PTZ (right) cam has a problem with the wiring that controls it – I’m pretty sure a pocket gopher chewed through it somewhere but the spots I’ve looked at so far are OK.  But I will find and fix.  Hopefully tomorrow morning.  In the meantime it will be offline.  Thanks for understanding.  Pete

03/05/11 5PM PST When it rains it pours… I just noticed come heavy duty pocket gopher chewing on the PTZ cable.  Could be responsible for PTZ cam doing its random “upside down” thing.  Will work on fixing tomorrow.  Hopefully some temp fixes will get us thru the night and I’ll also have the left cam back up.  Pete

03/05/11  3PM PST A limb fell from the eucalyptus tree taking down the cable for the left cam.  I can fix but will have to wait until tonight when the female takes off.  In the meantime, enjoy Bell Creek on a gorgeous day at Starr Ranch.  Pete

PTX cam fogged

02/26/11 PTZ cam lens is fogged up. Cleaned lens around 6:30PM PST but will have to wait for moisture to evaporate, on inside, which I think it will. If not, I’ll figure out something else to keep the view as good as can be. Pete

Female and chicks as chicks get older

Observation:  Around 7:10PM PST 2/25/11 female’s out and chicks are alone, huddled together.  The chicks, especially the older ones, are getting big enough to stay warm (which includes huddling together) for a while on their own and the female needs to start joining the male in hunting to feed appetites that are rapidly growing.  She will know when to come back in (successful or not in hunting) if the chicks need brooding.  Won’t be long before she’s out a lot more.  Pete

Server change

Around 10AM PST today (2/24/11) we’re going to switch servers for both cams.  Shouldn’t take long, but you will see one or both go dark.  Please be patient.  We’re doing this because more and more of you are watching and current servers can’t keep up.  And I want to do what ever I can to try to make sure you all have access.  However, and as you might expect, this costs more money.  I’m working on several fronts to reduce cost yet keep the quality as high as possible.  But in meantime, and actually all the time, please consider helping out.  I’m pretty sure I can get expenses down, but this site will never be something I can say costs nothing.  Thanks.  Pete

Huell Howser Show on Starr Ranch

Huell Howser’s KCET LA show “Visiting…” will have a half hour on Starr Ranch airing 7:30PM on March 2nd and 10th. Tune in to see more of what goes on here and also get some “behind the scenes” about the BNOWs.  Huell also said he was going to air this show in about a month on his “California Gold” show, which can be watched throughout California.  Pete

Commenting Hints

When commenting on or responding to a post click the “Reply” link that’s associated with that post – there’s one with every post.  It will keep your comment/response connected to what you’re replying to.   And will help everyone know what you’re talking about.

If you want to reference a post, just right click and copy the “Permalink” that every post has.  This is very handy when someone asks a question and you find a very old post that answered it.  You can simply paste the  “permalink” in your comment.  Pete

2011 Laying/Hatching

First clutch:

Egg#1 01/07/11 ~7:30AM Hatched ~12:30AM 02/07/11
Egg#2 01/09/11 ~7:30AM Seen ~ 2:00AM 02/09/11
Egg#3 01/11/11 ~8:40AM Hatched ~ 2:20AM 02/11/11
Egg#4 01/13/11 ~7:20AM Hatched ~ 5:12PM 02/12/11
Egg#5 01/15/11 ~8:05AM
Egg#6 01/17/11 ~8:10AM
Egg#7 01/19/11 ~11:00AM

02/08/11 Cam outage

02/08/11 It turned out we maxed out the server – there were 350+ viewers (!).  So we are investigating newer hardware or better, cost saving ways to provide a more reliable video feed.  In meantime I had to reduce frame rate – which you shouldn’t notice much – so we could keep up with the demand.  In any case, this is just one reason we ask for your support.  Providing this cam cost money that we have to raise.  Thanks.  Pete

Reorganized Starr Ranch Barn Owl Page 02/07/11

Click the title to see this entire post.

In an effort to make this site more user friendly and less busy, we recently reorganized it. In general, the views and ability to post and/or reply to comments has not changed at all. However, here are a few things about what has changed:

-You can comment while watching the video feeds.
-“Search this site…” searches everything EXCEPT comments made below the video feeds. Gretchen’s working on trying to apply it to these also.
-If you go back to previous pages to read older comments the video feeds will not be there. After all, we figured you’re reading and scrolling, not watching. In the past while you’re reading with the video’s still on the page you were using bandwidth even if you scrolled the video off the screen. Now you have to go to the most current page to restart videos.
-An FAQ page is now available in the left column with key words to hopefully help you quickly find the answer you’re looking for.
-If you have a question that you think would be good to have included in the FAQs please email it to and I’ll try to include ASAP. In fact, feel free to email with any comments or questions.
-If you go to a FAQ and it has more info that isn’t shown, click on the title of the FAQ if you want to read more.
-If you responded to my request to take a time slot to watch these birds and record data (formally in left hand column), I still have your info. Just haven’t been able to figure out how to do this so that it works well and provides useful info.

-Many thanks to Garrison, Gretchen, Jill, Lisa, Martin, and Trish for their various contributions to this redesign.

Important: I want to make sure that everyone understands that I will not intervene should anything occur that might naturally cause this nest to fail. This includes predators, bees, chicks not getting enough food, etc. We are able to watch what goes on at this nest because there are cameras there that have no affect on their behavior. I feel very strongly that this doesn’t come with it the right to manipulate what we see. These are wild birds in a wild situation. Thanks.