7 grams, 3 days old.
Our policy is make the facilities as natural as possible.
Birds are paired and set up in separate breeding enclosures.
Underground burrows totally dark, insulated
Birds will do some renovations as in the wild (manure, caching)
Burrows cleaned once weekly, quickly and with minimum of disturbance.
Try to keep birds visually separate
Clutch at 7 days old.
Breeding / egg laying takes place in April/May
Male does not incubate but brings food to female at entrance to burrow.
Egg laying rate is usually at a rate of one every 24 - 36 hrs . 3-11 eggs are usually laid
Incubation starts after first 4-6 eggs laid (synchronous hatching). Subsequent eggs are incubated asynchronously. Thus there are age differences in clutch. Younger smaller chicks may die or are killed by siblings.
Rapidly growing brood.
Youngest owls are helpless (little down, no temperature regulation). Development occurs rapidly.
Young are first seen at the entrance of the burrow between 2 to 3 weeks after hatching.. They begin to move to nearby burrows at about 25 days, and can fly at about 50 days of age. The juveniles become relatively independent of the adults - a bit like teenagers - between 60 to 70 days after hatching (Pictures of development sequence)
Occasional handrearing occurs where there is little chance that a chick will survive. Some of these young birds will become imprinted, meaning that they have developed strong ties to their human handlers. The chances of their survival as wild birds is not as great. However these owls have a very important role with our program. They are the ambassadors for their species, representing Burrowing Owls at educational sessions and helping to spread the conservation message. Two of our most well-known owls are Merlin and Scout.
At 21 days.