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The full story and all the best clips from my nestcams
I have more than 30 cameras hidden in animal and bird nests throughout my garden and the countryside beyond and at any one time you can watch wild owls, weasels. stoats or garden birds as they go about their daily business on screens displayed in my gallery in Thixendale, North Yorkshire.
I will be updating this blog with video clips taken from these nest cams every time I get any really great action on my cameras. So far I’ve been following a pair of barn owls, a pair of kestrels and a tawny owl pair through this year’s breeding season. I’ve posted the latest action first, so to see the history of each pair please scroll down.
Today the kestrel chick fledged – but it’s first flight was a fail! Watch it in the clip below head to the entrance of the nest box and then slip, tumbling head over heels to the ground. Watch to the end to see the slow motion replay of the somersault – and don’t worry. I found it at the bottom of the tree, picked it up and popped it back in the nest. It’s much too wet a day for it to be out today. Hopefully if it fledges tomorrow all will be well for it.
It’s been very wet here in Yorkshire. Watch this clip of the male barn owl. It is soaked through and its feathers are very damp, but it pauses momentarily after delivering food to the chicks, shakes out its feathers and then sets off to hunt for more.
The chicks are growing every day and their behaviour is increasingly engaging. I thought you would like to see this clip of them all huddled together at the back of the nest box. Something has caught the eye of the one in the middle, watch it rotate it’s neck almost 360 degrees!
And the following shows them coping with the recent heatwave by ‘gaping’. A bit like a dog panting to draw in more cool air they reduce their body temperatures in this way. There’s been a heat wave here in the UK with daytime temperatures soaring up to 32 degrees here in Yorkshire.
Here are the barn owls taking a rare moment together from the daily challenges of raising four chicks.
The barn owl sits on her chicks for hours at a time. Below is a really gorgeous capture of her taking a moment to stretch her legs. First she stretches one, then the other, then she rotates her neck, and finally her wings get a really good stretch, right up above her head. Who knew yoga was a thing for barn owls?
Meanwhile here is the kestrel with her two chicks – these were the only two that hatched.
This kestrel laid a total of six eggs over 12 days. I wonder if this kestrel is a first time mum. At first she had a bit of trouble settling down to lay – watch her feet splay out beneath her. She seems surprised to see the first egg and at one point struggles to balance on it. It rolls beneath her and she falls flat on her beak! Her mate comes in to help brood every now and then.
The tawny owls now have three chicks and they are getting a bit big! Take a look at this clip of the female trying her best to tuck them under her. It looks like the owlets are wearing feather caps!
Below are some of clips taken from when these three species of owl were courting – and a clip of the first egg to be laid here at Thixendale this year.