Saturday January 20 10:14 am

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Barn Owl Pair raising Bonus Round of Chicks

BarnOwl-chick.jpg

The existence of a bonus round of chicks in 2017 is good news for barn owls because they are an endangered species in Indiana. In 2015, only 10 barn owl nests were reported statewide.

The mother owl laid this second clutch of eggs in late September, which is just within the standard barn owl breeding season from March to October. But this year was the first time this pair laid eggs that late while on the nest cam.

Five chicks hatched from the second clutch.

On Dec. 5, DNR nongame bird biologists inspected the chicks while placing identification bands on their legs.

Three chicks were healthy, whereas two were much smaller. The healthy chicks will likely survive until fledging. The average number of chicks fledged per nest is two to three, so having three survive is normal, according to Allisyn Gillet, DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife nongame bird biologist.

“The survival of the chicks will depend on food availability over the next few weeks,” Gillet said. “There must be enough prey to feed both adults and chicks in order to have a successful second nest.”

This pair successfully raised and fledged six chicks in late spring.

A barn owl pair has been living in this DNR-built nest box inside a metal pole barn in southern Indiana almost every year for the last eight years.

Barn owls were once common in the Midwest, living in hollow trees and wooden barns, and hunting for meadow voles in hayfields, idle grain fields, pastures and other grasslands. But many wooden barns are being torn down, and few modern farms offer the land a barn owl needs for hunting.

The goal of the webcam is to promote public interest in birds and raise awareness about efforts to support barn owls.

DNR’s Wildlife Diversity Program has been placing nest boxes for barn owls since 1984. The nest boxes, like the one the webcam owls use, give owls a safe place to raise their young. More information is at www.wildlife.IN.gov/3382.htm.

The barn owl webcam can be viewed anytime with an unlimited number of viewers at www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNc5f0Ohmfw&feature=youtu.be.

The barn owl is one of more than 750 animal species, including many rare and endangered animals, supported by the DNR’s Wildlife Diversity Program. WDP depends on donations to the DNR Nongame Fund. You can donate at EndangeredWildlife.IN.gov.

For updates on Indiana’s nongame wildlife, subscribe to an email list at www.bit.ly/2j9hY0O.

To view all DNR news releases, please see www.dnr.IN.gov.