The barn owl pair being filmed on the southern Indiana nest cam has laid seven eggs, with five hatching.
It is unknown whether the remaining eggs will hatch. Having a few infertile eggs in a clutch is common.
The barn owl webcam is at wildlife.IN.gov/8183.htm. It can accommodate 20 viewers at a time.
The first egg hatched on March 29. The owlets look healthy and are accepting food from their mother several times daily. The young owls will remain with the parents for about three to five weeks after fledging.
Due to the early hatching, the pair may lay another clutch of eggs this year.
Barn owls were once common in the Midwest, living in hollow trees and wooden barns, and hunting in hayfields, idle grain fields, pastures and other grasslands for meadow voles. But many wooden barns are being torn down, and few modern farms offer the land a barn owl needs for hunting. Additionally, grassland habitat has dwindled, affecting barn owls and other species.
The goal of the webcam is to promote public interest in birds and raise awareness about efforts to support barn owls.
DNR’s Wildlife Diversity Program has been placing nest boxes for barn owls since 1984, with 29 placed in 2016. The nest boxes, like the one the webcam owls use, give owls a safe place to raise young. More information about nest boxes is at wildlife.IN.gov/3382.htm.
The barn owl is one of more than 750 animal species, including many rare and endangered animals, supported by the DNR’s Wildlife Diversity Program. WDP depends on donations to the DNR Nongame Fund. You can donate at EndangeredWildlife.IN.gov.
Donations are down more than 60 percent in 2017, most likely due to a more rigorous process for donating on state tax forms.
For updates on Indiana’s nongame wildlife programs, subscribe to an email list at http://bit.ly/2j9hY0O