Webcams – Not Just for Nannies

After being named “Bird of the Year” by the Audubon Society, the Barn Owl (Tyto alba) continues its high flight in the spotlight with a view from the nest, courtesy of Audubon Starr Ranch webcam in Orange County. That’s right. Real time nature at your fingertips!

Roosting in a tree cavity monitored by the electronic device, the celebrated owls are fluffed up over the arrival of their new chicks. Check them out live and see how mama, papa and six babies are faring. Birders say the owls are most active in early morning and late evening.

Recently, ABC 7 News reported that folks watching the Owl Cam are concerned that one chick is looking a bit frail and smaller than the rest. Some want to intervene; but according to Pete DeSimone who has set up the webcam in the old eucalyptus, “”I completely understand that it really is a difficult thing to watch,” DeSimone said.  “But having some experience with these birds, we’re watching something that’s happening in millions of places in nests everywhere around the world.”

Barn owls are one of the most common species of owls in California and Audubon California gives this recap:

With its distinctive white face, the Barn Owl is known to frequent agricultural lands, suburban and urban neighborhoods and lightly forested foothills. While the species is not at risk in the broader sense, some local populations have experienced sharp declines due to the removal of breeding habitat and other threats such as a large number hit by vehicles.

About the size of a small cat but weighing only a pound, the barn owl has a huge 42” wingspan and a slow silent flight.

If you like the Owl Cam, consider supporting it with a donation. The owls will, no doubt, send you a flapping of thanks.

— Brenda Rees, Editor