During the Dusk Open Vehicle Adventures over the past two weeks Keeper Laura Harbridge discovered that our resident barn owl family were back in the lower savannah. This is the only time of year that we really traverse that area after dark so we took the opportunity to get some photos before locking up for the night.
Barn Owls may be nomadic or they may stay put in one location depending on rodent numbers. Judging by the number of young owls it seems we have quite a few mice around – there were at least seven chicks!
Barn owls lay 3 – 9 eggs staggered at intervals so that they do not all hatch together. Given that each egg takes a little over a month to hatch followed by a three month fledgling period it is safe to say that the parent owls have been very busy… Two mice were delivered just in the 15 – 20 minutes that we observed them!
We have also noticed that Nankeen Kestrels are hanging around this tree during the day. It’s highly likely that they are waiting to use the same tree if not the same nest hollow as the owls. This high rise hot demand only highlights the importance of these old trees for wildlife homes. I guess we might need to provide some artificial hollows to ensure there’s enough supply for demands in the future.
The baby owl is very cute!