Barn Owl Cam

This Barn Owl nesting box was built and installed by Bob’s Adventure Camp community.  A big thank you goes to Evo Gregorian, Nicky Forbes, Bruce Barlow and Chris Caisse who invested extra time to this program.

We are grateful for the generous donation from BossioLaw for the purchase of the video cam and the live web broadcast.   It is a gift to our community to enjoy Ocean Rider’s resident barn owls, and enhance our expanding educational programs.   Your ongoing support in any amount will help us build our COVERED ARENA to accommodate year round programming.  

Our Barn Owl cam was installed on Christmas Eve 2016. You are seeing the live feed in the frame below. The Muir Beach community named the parents Barnaby and Owlivia. The summer camp kids will name each baby as they hatch.

Be sure to check out the Barn Owl Frequently Asked Questions section below the YouTube videos.

March 7 Update > Mom Barn Owl Owlivia started laying eggs three weeks ago one every other day for a total of seven. So… The first egg will hatch within one or two weeks then one every two days thereafter.

March 15 Update > OUR FIRST BABY OWL HATCHES!!

March 16 – The first baby owl is named Penelope by Stella from Muir Beach!

March 17 Update > Paddy has hatched on St. Patrick’s Day!

March 19 Update > Snowball has hatched – baby owl #3!

March 21 Update > Luna has arrived! Baby owl #4!

March 27 Update > We can confirm that we have at least five babies – maybe six. No. five is named after Muir Beach’s original name “Bello Beach” so welcome Bello to the family!

April 5 Update > As the first five owlets got bigger it has been very difficult to confirm if the last remaining two eggs were fertile. We can now confirm that we got only one more baby owl and it’s name is Dias! Two new videos below!

April 22 Update > Today we added a second camera in the barn. Right away most if not all of the action from this camera will be at night when the parents bring food to the box. We are curious to learn if the parents rest outside of the nesting box. Some time soon the owlets will leave the nesting box and will roost on the parts of the barn you see covered by our second camera. Thank you Bruce for all your help installing our new camera in the barn.

May 7 Update > Our first owlet Penelope has been itchy to make her first trip out of the nesting box. She has been sticking her head out of the hole for several days now. It could happen any time now. Keep watch on the cam showing the owl box end of the barn. – We apologize for the poor quality of of the box cam – the tops of the owlet heads are as close to the camera lens as one inch and the lens is quite dirty now.

The frame above is a live video feed into our Barn Owl nesting box from a night vision camera pointing straight down.
The YouTube videos below are a historical record of cool events arranged chronologically with the most recent videos on top. 

BARN OWLS ~ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Do Barn Owls Mate For Life?

Barn Owls are usually monogamous and stay together for life. If one of the pair dies, the other will find a new mate. There have been reports of polygamy, with pairs raising second broods during a given year with a different mate. There is even one report of polygyny, with two females and one male nesting and raising young together in one nest box.

How Old Are They When They Have Their First Nest/Nestlings?

Barn Owls usually start breeding at about a year old.

Do Both Parents Sit On The Nest?

No, just the female. She has a featherless area on her abdomen called a “brood patch” which is designed to keep the eggs warm. This patch has lots of blood vessels just beneath the skin that transfer heat to the eggs. Incubation begins after the first egg is laid and the female only rarely leaves the nest during this time, and only for brief periods.

Doesn’t The Female Get Hungry While She Sits On The Nest All Day And Night?

The male delivers prey to the female during the time she is incubating the eggs and brooding the young chicks. In many cases the male will bring excess prey that is stored in the nest for later consumption.

What Do Barn Owls Eat?

Barn Owls eat mostly small mammals, particularly rats, mice, voles, lemmings, and other rodents; also shrews, bats, and rabbits. Most of the prey they eat are active at night, so squirrels and chipmunks are relatively safe from Barn Owls. They occasionally eat birds such as starlings, blackbirds, and meadowlarks. Amphibians, reptiles, fish, insects, scorpions, and crayfish are rarely taken. Nesting Barn Owls sometimes store dozens of prey items at the nest site while they are incubating to feed the young once they hatch. It has not been determined whether Barn Owls are specialist or opportunistic predators. Though the owls appear to be specialized in hunting small mammals, this actually may only reflect the fact that these prey items are what the owls are most likely to encounter in their nocturnal habitat.

Do They Only Hunt At Night?

Barn Owls hunt primarily at night, beginning about one hour after sunset and ending about one hour before sunrise. They occasionally hunt during the day.

Do They Eat The Bones Too? Why Do They Eat The Bones?

Owls typically swallow small prey whole, bones and all. Bones are broken down in the stomach to provide important nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus. Any indigestible parts of prey such as fur and undigested bones are regurgitated as a pellet. Barn Owls usually cough up pellets once or twice a day.

The Owl Just Threw Up. Is It Sick?

You probably observed it regurgitating or “casting” a pellet. When a prey item is swallowed whole, indigestible parts of prey, such as fur, bone, and tough insect parts, will form a pellet in a muscular area of the stomach called the gizzard. In North America, Barn Owls have been found to produce one to two pellets per day on average. The minimum interval between eating and casting is about 6.5 hours, but repeated small meals at intervals of less than 6.5 hours inhibit pellet regurgitation and result in large pellets containing remains of many meals. Pellet regurgitation appears to be stimulated by the sight of a potential meal.

How Do They Get Water?

Barn Owls get most of the water that they need from eating their prey. They have almost never been observed drinking water in the wild.

Do Barn Owls Sleep?

Yes. When asleep they will close their eyes.

Do Barn Owls Have A Sense Of Smell?

Traditionally, scientists assumed that most birds have a poor sense of smell because the area of a bird’s brain involved in smell is relatively small compared with the area found in mammals. However, recent research reveals that some species of birds have a high number of active genes that are associated with smell. Scientists have also discovered that some species of birds can tell each other apart by smell. So, though we don’t have all the details, and no specific studies have been conducted on Barn Owls, they probably do have some ability to smell.

11 Comments

  1. Vanessa LeMaire

    Voyeurism or simple delight to be watching the intimacy of a couple of Barn Owls? Congratulations on capturing a mating scene on night #1. Thank you Oceanriders, Bob Hemstock and GGNRA for this wonderful gift to our Muir Beach Community. My daughters will be thrilled to follow the family’s development over the months ahead.

  2. Tina Hunter

    Really enjoying watching these fuzzy little guys growing bigger and bigger. Barnaby is being kept really busy providing for these hungry mouths. I have counted six owlets!

  3. kathy lopes

    hello.. im kathy lopes i was there april 29 2017 and it was so great to be able to go home and see the babys and able to watch them i remember when i was a small girl and they discovered one of the rare owls up in the rocks behind the main house..its so great to see the ladys and men at the ranch careing for them and the ranch..they are all sweet people with great love for the owls and horses..bless them all

  4. Tina Hunter

    A few days after Dias fledged, Owlivia & Barnaby were starting the cycle all over again and spending lots of time together during the evenings in their love nest. Today Owlivia was in the nest box most of the day and I’m noticing some more mice in there. I wonder if she’ll lay eggs again soon?

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