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19 July 2014

Film from a Kerry Barn Owl nest box

Here is some recent footage from a Barn Owl nest site in Co. Kerry. There are four chicks within, the oldest about 25 days, the youngest about 15 days old. The male and female are busy feeding them each night. Some things to look out for... 

The male delivers prey in the early part of the video, but note the paleness of the outer wing. He is easily distinguishable from the female who appears toward the end of the video - she has more barring on the secondaries (outer wing) and primaries (the longest wing feathers) as well as a more heavily barred tail. Not all pairs are so readily sexed, as there are some females which are only faintly barred and some slightly barred males, but this pair are particularly easy to distinguish.

Notice that both the female and male are already ringed with a small metal band on their legs. An adult male and an adult female were ringed at this site in 2012, and a different female was ringed in 2013.

The last clip shows the female outside the box, but the chorus of hisses and bill snaps is from the chicks, who either heard or saw something which alarmed them, perhaps even the female arriving at the nest.

Hunting seems to be good. One Bank Vole is offered to a chick, but it turns out it already has one. In another part of the clip, you can see the chick eat one item, while another lies uneaten at its feet. This surplus is often consumed by the chicks during the following day.

(You can hit the arrow icon in the corner of the video for a full screen view)

Barn Owl nest camera, Co. Kerry (Video: M.O'Clery, filmed under licence from NPWS).

And here's the same box, about a week later...

Barn Owl nest camera, Co. Kerry (Video: M.O'Clery, filmed under licence from NPWS).