Barn Owl Research
As many of you remember, we had placed live cameras on two pair of Barn Owls that had nested in our nest boxes. Many of you contacted us about how interesting you found that to be. This year, we will continue to bring you new and exciting video. This type of research is costly, the cost for each location runs about $1000.00 for materials, maintenance and the WiFi service. Donate for more projects like these!
Between 2014 and 2018, the Barn Owls in our boxes raised over 100 baby Barn Owls. It has been said that a Barn Owl clutch is between 4 and 6 eggs. Some of our birds have read this and follow that protocol, yet others have not yet read that information, as they often lay up to 10 eggs. In 2017, we have one nest that has 8 eggs and another that has only 2.
The number of eggs that the female lays has a direct correlation to the amount of food the male brings her prior to egg laying. In most years, male owls find young rabbits to bring to their females. The first two years (2014-2015), the Barn Owls in our boxes did not bring any rabbits into their nests. However, since 2017; bringing rabbits to the awaiting females has become commonplace.
When we began this project, we built nest boxes that were 15 inches (38.10 cm) high, 15 inches (38.10 cm) deep and 30 inches (76.20 cm) long. Each box had a 6 inch (15.24 cm) , round entrance hole. This size box proved to be too small as some of the younger owlets perished because the box was too small. Now our boxes are 18 inches (45.72 cm) high, 15 inches (38.10 cm) deep and 40 inches (101.60 cm) long. With this larger box, the owls are more comfortable and so far we have not lost any young owls because the box was too small.
When placing our boxes we look for areas with specific habitat requirements.
In order for a pair of birds to use one of our boxes, the box are placed in areas that have large un-plowed grass covered fields, tall trees or juniper bushes where the male can roost during the day, and each box is placed far from busy roads and highways, so the birds don't get hit by cars. Our boxes are placed on buildings, as to lessen the chances of predators, such as Raccoons entering the nests to disturb the eggs and young. In many of our locations, the birds raise two broods per season and often raise over 10 baby owls each year.
Below are some photos of the Barn Owl research.
Barn Owl numbers have declined over the years due to man made causes such as loss of habitat and nesting sites. Many old buildings that Barn Owls would use, have been torn down and replaced by new buildings, with no openings for the owls. Therefore, volunteers for CARRI built and placed 10 Barn Owl nest boxes in what we thought would be good habitat for the owls.
Since the inception of this project in 2014, we have placed over 20 nest boxes for Barn Owls in Colorado. These boxes stretch from south Boulder, Colorado to North Fort Collins, Colorado, a distance of about 70 miles (112.654 km).
Through this research CARRI has answered several questions about Barn Owls including:
1) Barn Owls begin nesting in Colorado in March, and occasionally in February, but can nest as late as August.
2) Barn Owls mate and raise a family when they are 1 year old.
3) Tall grass a plus for nesting Barn Owls, as it is a great location for voles and mice, that the owls catch with ease.
4) Barn Owls are an efficient and inexpensive method of rodent control.
5) Most Barn Owls find a new mate every year.
6) Barn Owlets (young owls) leave their nests at about 55-63 days after hatching.
7) Most often, male Barn Owls arrive at a nest location before the female. He perches near it vocalizing and/or flies around, making dolphin-link clicks and screams, to entice a female to come close enough, so he can show her the nest site he has picked out.
8) When a female arrives, he enters the box, stamps his feet and calls to her to try to entice her to enter the box.