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Watch your favorite barn owls, Frida and Diego, raise their family, live!

By Gary Bogue
Monday, February 26th, 2007 at 8:47 am in Uncategorized.

TheOwlCam is a barn owl nest box in the Benicia Arsenal, where Frida and Diego Barn Owl live.

The barn owl family’s every move is captured by a video camera (webcam) and you can view the results, 24/7, on the Internet at: http://www.TheOwlCam.com

An amazing number of my daily newspaper column readers have been following the exploits of Frida and Diego since they first hit the local scene in January, 2004. That was when a creative gentleman named Scott Zoog, and his friends Mark Engelhardt and Jason Lingnau, working together at a company named Intuitive ISP in Benicia, made TheOwlCam happen.

For those who haven’t been following this, Scott first contacted me on Jan. 11, 2004 to tell us about the nesting and breeding barn owls that had been living in his neighborhood in the Benicia Arsenal for years. Scott and his above named associates had put an unobtrusive video camera equipped with infrared night vision in their nest box, set it to run 24 hours a day and hooked it up to the Internet (webcam) so the world could watch.

When barn owl females incubate eggs, males usually roost nearby and only visit to drop off fresh mice and gophers (I once saw a rat) for the female. While there, he also breeds with her to fertilize the eggs she’s been laying.

The fun is really going to begin when the eggs hatch and we get to watch the mother owl interacting with and raising her chicks. I’ve hand-raised a lot of orphaned barn owls over the years, and I’m telling you now, don’t miss it!

It beats the heck out of “Desperate Housewives,” or “Funniest Home Videos,” and there are no commercials!

That means you can watch them breed, lay eggs, incubate the eggs, hatch out their baby owls, and raise them over the next several months. It makes for fascinating and often hilarious viewing and Frida and Diego have a LOT of fans.

What prompted all of the above information is this e-mail I just received this morning from Scott Zoog:

Hello Owl Fans!
TheOwlCam’s 2007 season is officially underway! Frida and Diego have been mating many times a day for about a week now.

Here is a nice shot that the folks at Cornell saved on Valentines Day: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/birdhouse/nestboxcam/barn_owl_ca

Here is a quick breakdown of how the coming events should progress:

We should start to see some egg laying around the middle of March. The egg laying will go on for about two weeks. In previous years, about 7 eggs have been laid.

It takes about 32 to 34 days for the first egg to hatch, so around mid-April we should start to see some babies.

The eggs then hatch every other day. As a result, the nest will contain young of different sizes and age.

The young are called “owlets.” They are covered with white down for about 6 days. This is gradually replaced by a buff-colored down which develops into a thick, woolly covering that is still in evidence for about 50 days.

Adult plumage is acquired in about 7½ weeks, at which time, after much practicing about the nest, the young venture out for their first lessons in flying and hunting.

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to send your 2007 donation. Your generous support is what keeps TheOwlCam online. Click here to learn how you can help: http://www.theowlcam.com/support.php

Until next time, Happy owl watching.
~Scott

To watch the owls, go to: http://www.TheOwlCam.com

To join TheOwlList and receive e-mail message updates about Frida and Diego, send a blank e-mail to: TheOwlList-on@list.intuitiveisp.com

To be removed from TheOwlList, send a blank e-mail to: TheOwlList-off@list.intuitiveisp.com

Have fun!

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