[va-bird] Barn Owl's winter nest
- From: "Wallace Coffey" <jwcoffey@xxxxxxxxxx>
- To: "VA-BIRD (E-mail)" <va-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2005 16:37:30 -0500
A pair of Barn Owls which have an apparent winter nest with three young was found in a metal feed storage hopper on a farm near DeBusk Mill in Washington Co., VA, Sunday (1/2). The bin is about 30 feet high. According to information available this this may be the first winter nesting of the Barn Owl in Virginia. Roger B. Clapp's "Egg Dates for Virginia Birds," published by the Virginia Society of Ornithology in 1997, makes no mention of winter nesting in Virginia. A nest with two young is listed for Feb. 1986 at Timberville, VA. in Rockingham County in Clair Mellinger's book but Clapp does not recognize that record. Tony Decker noted in "The Birds of Smyth County Virginia" (1999) that the species nests all year but there are no such records to the best of my knowledge. The nest was discovered by Wallace Coffey, Chris O'Bryan and Andy Jones while participating in the Glade Spring Christmas Bird Count. This provided a total of five owls for the count. The discovery was prompted when we stopped near a dairy farm operation and subsequently met the owner. The owner suggested that he had "fur balls" he believed came from either a hawk or owl. He took Coffey to investigate inside an equipment shed. An extensive amount of whitewash and Barn Owl pellets were observed on the floor and equipment under the mostly open shed. No owl was seen. While observing the pellets and droppings, Coffey recognized the calling of young Barn Owls coming from nearby. Just outside the shed, it seemed apparent the food begging was coming from within a tall bin next to the building. The owner said he had not observed any owls about the area but was willing to help us search. A ladder was carried to the bin and O'Bryan and the farmer climbed to the top and looked down through an opening in the roof. O'Bryan was the first to reach the opening and one adult Barn Owl flushed. We had a good look as it flew out to the adjacent farmland. O'Bryan reported that two adults and two apparent nestling of much smaller size with brown feathers were perched on a crossbeam in the bin. One adults (most likely the male) flew from the bin. Two young dropped deep into the bin where a third smaller down white young was. The female flew down to the bottom and attempted to cover and hide the youngest owls. The other two young (too big to be brooded under the adult, in O'Bryan's opinion), crouched nearby. Several digital photos were taken of the birds in the bin. Barn owls can breed almost any time of the year, depending upon food supply (Harris, M. and K. Bachynski. 2002. "Tyto alba" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed January 02, 2005 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tyto_alba.html.) All brooding is done by the female, beginning immediately after hatching and lasting until the oldest young is about 25 days old. Due to the fact that Barn Owls may lay eggs with 2 or more days between eggs, we believe at this time that the two older young were from eggs laid earlier and the smallets from the latest laid eggs. Female Barn Owls begin incubating with the first egg and they hatch at different times. Let's go birding.... Wallace Coffey Bristol, TN You are subscribed to VA-BIRD. To post to this mailing list, simply send email to va-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx To unsubscribe, send email to va-bird-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with 'unsubscribe' in the Subject field.
Other related posts:
- » [va-bird] Barn Owl's winter nest
- » [va-bird] Re: Barn Owl's winter nest