Another update on the baby barn owls (Tyto alba) in our barn (Lookout CA):
About a week ago I mentioned that one of the four owlets hatched in the bucket in our barn had fallen out of the nest and was being raised on the barn floor by its parents. This happens every year because the bucket is not large enough for the growing chicks. A second chick is now out of the nest. Barn owl eggs are laid over a period of many days and hatch over approximately the same time frame as they were laid. This difference in age/size of owlets in a brood is easily observed in the two birds out of the nest. The wing feathers of one are already evident and it can get up on top of hay bales. This baby is no longer cute and cuddly.
The second owlet to fall from the nest has taken over the corner where his sibling previously sat. There are a few wing feathers and his heart-shaped face is beginning to feather.
Two smaller chicks remain in the nest. I thought there were only four owlets in the clutch – a record for our barn. Now I think there just might be a FIFTH baby. I could not tell for certain and was unable to photograph a fifth little face and pair of eyes. Yet there appears to be an extra little ball of fuzzy down that occasionally is visible over the bucket rim. If indeed there is a fifth owlet, it is very late to hatch. I will keep watching and reporting.