An old galvanized bucket hangs high in the rafters of our barn (Lookout CA). It has been there for years. Leonard does not clean the bucket or disturb it in any way. Every year our resident barn owls raise one, rarely two, clutches of babies in that bucket. Recently I finally saw the female barn owl in the bucket. It looks as though we will again have barn owl chicks. Yes!!
The barn is used so the owls are accustomed to some activity. The first two days the female owl flew off of the nest onto a rafter and watched me, hissing the entire time. The last two days she has remained on the nest, yet continues to hiss when I enter the barn. I take a quick look up, or a few pictures, and then leave so as not to disturb her excessively.
Barn owls (Tyto alba) nest and roost in dark cavities in farm buildings, trees, cliffs or urban buildings. They breed any time of the year, depending on the availability of food. The owls in our barn only breed and raise families in the spring and summer. Rather than build a new nest barn owls use old nests. The nest cup is lined with shredded owl pellets.
The female lays two to nine pure white eggs at intervals of 2 to 3 days. Incubation begins as soon as the first eggs is laid. After 29 to 34 days the eggs hatch at corresponding intervals. As a result there are chicks of different sizes and levels of development in the nest. Usually there are two or three chicks in our bucket nest.
Once the female begins to incubate the chicks and throughout the brooding period the female rarely leaves the nest. On the infrequent occasions she does leave, the male takes over sitting on the eggs. During the incubation and brooding period the male brings food to the female.
Before long there should be pictures of fluffy white owl babies.