A show of companionship and survival will play out live before the public in a new DNR webcam that offers a peek into the lives of a barn owl pair raising chicks.The webcam at wildlife.IN.go/8183.htm is the first in Indiana to focus on barn owls, a state-endangered species with fewer than two dozen known nesting pairs in Indiana. The goal of the webcam is to promote public interest in birds and raise awareness about efforts to support the barn owl.
Barn owls have nested at the webcam location in rural southern Indiana for the past seven years. A pair has already begun roosting at the box this spring, but has yet to lay eggs.
“The barn owl is an interesting and rare bird,” says DNR non-game bird biologist John Castrale. “We hope people develop an appreciation for this seldom-seen species and learn more about the owls and their habits through the DNR barn owl web page.”
Information on barn owls and how the public can help them is at wildlife.IN.gov/3382.htm.
Barn Owls are known for their distinctive heart-shaped face, dark eyes and white to golden-brown feathers. They were once common in the Midwest, living in hollow trees and wooden barns and hunting 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.
DNR’s Wildlife Diversity Program has been placing nest boxes for barn owls since 1984. The nest boxes, like the one the webcam owls use, give owls a safe place to raise their young. Barn owl breeding season typically begins in March and April, when a pair produces a clutch of three to 11 eggs. Usually the strongest three to four chicks will survive and leave the nest at 8 to 10 weeks old.
The barn owl webcam can accommodate 20 viewers at a time.
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 by credit card on the DNR website, or you can give all or a portion of your state tax return to the fund by marking the appropriate box on your printed Indiana tax form or when you file electronically. On the printed form, look for the bald eagle logo.