If you've been reading this for at least the last year, you might remember the barn owl saga from last year. It was super sad. There were hanging around the barn. I built a box. They nested. They hatched. And the adult(s?) killed the babies when they were less than a week old. I was told by raptor folks that it's not unusual for first-time nesters. Not normal, but not unusual. So sad. :-(
Well, the female started nesting again about a month ago in the box in the barn. She's super skittish. At first I could barely get out of the yard before she would hear the gate and fly out, but she's calmed down a lot. I've been desensitizing her to noise. Either it's working or she's just chilling out as incubation progresses. I plugged in a radio out in the tack room, and it plays pretty loud all day. Classical music, of course, so I like to think her babies will grow up smart.
I haven't seen the male at all. Not once. Last year I saw the male all the time, he was out there almost every morning. He's distinctly different than her, much lighter in color. But I've seen no sign of a second bird this year, and that worries me. Then again, I don't know why she would be nesting if she didn't have a mate.
So, time wise, the eggs ought to start hatching any day. I thought a heard babies a couple days ago but I think it was a false alarm. I still have been seeing the female owl nearly every time I go out to the barn, though if I'm quiet the radio drowns me out pretty well and sometimes she would stay put. I did not see her at all today, despite having to do a few loud things out in the barn. So either she's really sticking tight, or she was already out... hunting? Who knows. I'm curious to see how things develop, I wish I had a little spy camera to look in there (recalling the "creepy peepy" from bird population survey class at UCD). But I really don't want to climb up there and look. I'll keep ya posted. And maybe one of these days I'll manage to get a photo!