Do the owls have names?

We don’t name these owls for a couple of reasons. 1)These are truly wild birds (not domestic and not pets) so I feel names are probably not appropriate. 2)When we are watching activity, especially of chicks, names are very difficult to keep straight as opposed to #1, #2, etc. (given in the order they hatched). For the adults, “Female” and “Male” work best and “Mrs.” and “Mr.”, etc. also OK.

However, I have no problem if anyone wants to give them names. Just keep in mind that someone new to the site will not know who you’re talking about if you comment using a name whereas “Female”, “Male”, “Chick#X”, etc. leaves no doubt as to which one you are talking about.

What is a clutch, and how big are they?

BNOWs lay one to up to a dozen or more eggs/year/per clutch (sometimes they have more than one clutch/year). A ‘clutch’ is a group of eggs laid in a nest at one time. Larger clutches sometimes result in not all chicks surviving. Two common reasons for this: 1) Not all the eggs always hatch. 2) When the female lays the first egg she begin incubating it, meaning development begins. It takes her 1.5 to 2 days to lay the next egg. So, for example, if she lays 7 eggs, it may have taken her two weeks to lay them all. They will hatch accordingly, each one after approximately 30 days. This means by the time egg #7 hatches, egg #1 (if it hatched) will already have 2 weeks of development under its belt. BNOW chicks can fly at around 8 weeks, so 2 weeks is a lot of development time and younger chicks are sometimes not strong enough to compete with larger, older siblings for food.

What do barn owls eat?

Barn owls eat a variety of vertebrates. Here, most are rodents, such as wood rats, mice or pocket gophers. For a list of all mammals found at Starr Ranch, see here. The adult female will bite off parts for the youngest chicks, but within 7-10 days chicks will rip off bits of prey on their own. By two weeks of age, they’ll consume a whole animal, as long as it is a small enough – such as a mouse.

Recent history of the cavity

2008 clutches and earlier: This cavity has been in existence for perhaps 20+ years. A large limb fell ripping out the inside of the tree to create it. It is unknown how long BNOWs have used it. However, we have banded chicks from this cavity for at least the last 8-10 years. The first cam went up around 2007 and was simply watched here at Starr Ranch. Webcam viewing began around 2008. In 2008 there were 5 eggs. The first 2 hatched several days ahead of 3, 4,and 5. and 3-5 didn’t make it.

2009: Info coming soon.

2010 clutches:
First clutch:
(Laying, Hatching, Band#)
Egg 1 – 01/02/2010 11:00, Hatch 02/03/2010 06:15, 907-04043 #1
Egg 2 – 01/04/2010 10:30, Hatch 02/04/2010 09:30, 907-04040 #2
Egg 3 – 01/06/2010 15:30, Hatch 02/07/2010 03:00, 907-04044 #3
Egg 4 – 01/09/2010 06:30, Hatch 02/09/2010 03:15, 907-04041 #4
Egg 5 – 01/11/2010 11:00, Hatch 02/12/2010 16:30, 907-04042 #5
These two did not survive:
Egg 6 – 01/13/2010, 17:30, Hatch 02/13/2010 08:30
Egg 7 – 01/16/2010, 11:00, Hatch 02/16/2010 01:45
Other 5 chicks all fledged.

Second clutch:
Egg 1 05/21/2010 08:00
Egg 2 05/23/2010 09:00
Egg 3 05/25/2010 01:00
Egg 4 05/28/2010 04:00
Three eggs hatched and all three chicks fledged in August. [top]

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
Egg#5 01/15/11 ~8:05AM
Egg#6 01/17/11 ~8:10AM
Egg#7 01/19/11 ~11:00AM