Barn owl chicks are set to hatch live on camera

A barn owl in flight
A barn owl in flight
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Nature lovers are being offered the chance to see three beautiful barn owl chicks hatch live on camera.

A purpose-built brick owl tower fitted with a camera capable of live streaming video to the internet was built in a paddock on the outskirts of Bourne last autumn.

Barn owls in owl tower in outskirts of Bourne EMN-160531-171655001

Barn owls in owl tower in outskirts of Bourne EMN-160531-171655001

To the delight of the Len Pick Trust, which funded the project, the tower is now home to a pair of adult barn owls and the female has been sitting on a clutch of three eggs for the past month.

Bob Sheppard, from the Barn Owl Conservation Network, said he expects them to hatch towards the end of this week.

He said: “We expect a lot of interest in the live stream over the next few months – locally, nationally and internationally – as the eggs hatch and the adults tend to their young.

“There will be a lot of activity and viewers should be able to see voles, mice, shrews and rats being brought back to the tower for the chicks to eat.

“They are fascinating birds and I’d urge people to take a look at the video stream.”

Once hatched, the chicks are likely to stay in the nest for eight to 10 weeks before flying off.

The video feed can be found at www.lenpicktrust.org.uk

The page incorporates a diary so Bob can interpret and explain what is happening and keep everyone up-to-date on developments. 
The owl tower was built by students from New College Stamford using materials salavaged from an old barn which had to be demolished for safety reasons.

The building had previously been home to barn owls and the landowner was keen to ensure they had somewhere else to nest.

The project was supported by Bourne businesses including Boss Cabins and Lees Scaffolding.

Bob first designed owl towers 20 years ago and, since then, they have grown in popularity and can now be found at sites all over the country.

He added: “They are a more permanent alternative to nest boxes, which tend to only last for around 20 years.

“Not that many of them have cameras in, so the tower on the outskirts of Bourne is pretty special and we are excitedly watching the video stream and awating developments.”

This is the second owl tower project from the Len Pick Trust. Its location is being kept a secret to prevent the nest being disturbed.

Barn owl numbers are said to have fallen by more than half since 1932.Reasons for this decline include a fall in the number of nest sites with barns and derelict farm buildings being converted into homes, road deaths and the decline in area of rough grassland hunting grounds.