New house

We’ve taken advantage of the nest box being empty over the winter to replace it with a new one, and have updated the cameras too. Now we wait…

We didn’t have to wait long, two owl pellets appeared overnight: proof of an owl visiting to check out the new accommodation, which must smell strange to them as it’s so new.

Two common toads and a smooth newt, 20 February 2024.

First flight

This evening the younger owlet found enough courage to leap off the nest box ledge for the first time, though rather inelegantly flew straight into a bush. She made a good recovery though and has now flown off to shelter from the rain in a nearby oak tree.

The black spots on their chests show that they’re female.

All alone

The older owlet has already learnt to fly and last night spent most of her time away from the nest box, leaving her younger sister alone to sit on the ledge in the early morning light, before going for a solitary daytime sleep.

The black spots on their chests show that they’re female.


Out in the early morning rain the two owlets wait without success for food. We haven’t seen the adult female for weeks and the adult male doesn’t always appear often and certainly not when it’s raining. So we feed the hungry wobble-heads until they can fend for themselves.

The black spots on their chests show that they’re female.

Owl check-up time

The owlets are about 51 days old so time for a weighing, measuring and ringing by owl expert John Lightfoot from the Shropshire Barn Owl Group. This year we have two females, doing well though one rather under weight. They still have lots of ‘baby’ fluff but are rapidly shedding this to reveal their new feathers which they’ll be using soon as they venture out of the nest box.

Day 42

The two barn owlets are beginning to loose their fluffy covering and reveal their new feathers. Not long before they’ll be trying to get out of the nest box. A combination of the adults and us bringing them food seems to be working.

Day 21

Hunting is not going well for the barn owls, with the father seldom seen and the mother often returning without food. There are just two owlets now and we have started to supplement their food to keep them going. Not an easy decision: should we leave these wild animals alone?

Dinner time

The barn owl mum has to multitask, keeping the three owlets under control while sitting on the two remaining eggs, holding dinner (a mouse caught during the night) under a claw while pulling it apart with her beak to feed the hungry pink wrigglers. It won’t be long before they can each down a whole mouse themselves, but in the meantime it’s hard work for the mum. We’re not sure where the dad is: if he’s not around then it will be hard for her to provide enough food for the growing brood on her own..

First egg!

The male has clearly learned how to do things right, as the female has just laid her first egg which she is now tenderly caring for.

More owls!

It’s now getting a little confusing. Today there are two owls in the nest box but one of them doesn’t have a ring on its leg so isn’t one of the two owls who have been visiting this week. So we now have at least three owls.

They’re a pair!

The two owls who have each been visiting the nest box seem to know each other a little better than we thought. They’re actually a pair and clearly like the nest box so fingers crossed that they settle in and do what owls do in spring!