(Above) Barn owl by Stewart Canham (below) webcam screen-shot by Jane Adams
Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) is celebrating the return of the much loved barn owl webcam, where viewers from all over the country and abroad have been following ‘Bob and Brenda’ as they rear their young in front of a live webcam, which is streamed 24 hours a day.
2013 saw the worst breeding season for the barn owl for more than 30 years. Once a common sight in our countryside, the barn owl has suffered from unusual weather patterns over the last four years, and there may now be fewer than 1,000 breeding pairs in England.
Four chicks have already hatched
The webcam was first installed in 2010 by ‘Wildlife Windows’, and has since provided hours of entertainment into homes across the UK and the world from breeding pairs of barn owls, kestrels and tawny owls. This year, two barn owls have returned to the nest box and so far we have seen four chicks hatch, with another egg expected to hatch any day now.
The nest box is occupied up to 10 months a year
For a chance to see the wonderful barn owls in flight, the nest box is located on DWT’s Lorton Meadows nature reserve in Weymouth. DWT Community Conservation Officer, Sam Dallimore said: “We are delighted to be once again following the progress of the Barn Owls as they look after their young. On a quiet evening, it is possible to see the barn owls soaring over the reserve in search of food such as voles, mice and other small prey to feed their chicks. There will be plenty of time to catch all the action on the webcam, as the chicks won’t leave the nest until they have all their plumage and are at least 8 weeks old. The nest box is occupied for about 10 months of the year, as after the chicks have left, the male returns throughout the winter to roost, which will be shown live on-screen in the Lorton Meadows Conservation Centre.”
Fantastic response on DWT's Twitter and Facebook pages
The webcam has had a fantastic response on DWT’s Twitter and Facebook pages, where followers nationally and internationally have been posting photos and discussing this fascinating wildlife spectacle. Jane Doggett from New Hampshire, USA posted onto Facebook: “My 10 year old granddaughter found your live webcam on the barn owl last night. She is researching the barn owl for a school project, so we were so excited to be inside the box with the mother, the father, one baby and four more eggs. We live in sunny Rumney, New Hampshire and we are live with the owls. Sooo exciting!”
'Like' the barn owls on facebook
To stay up to date with the latest action from the barn owl nest box, you can ‘like’ our Bob and Brenda barn owl page on facebook here.
How to watch the webcams
To view the barn owl webcam and a live feed of the tern island on Brownsea Island Lagoon, also managed by ‘Wildlife Windows’,click here. The tern island webcam is a collaboration between DWT, The Birds of Poole Harbour and the National Trust.
For more information about Wildlife Windows, click here.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
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Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.