For the last four years, Earthwise volunteers and staff have been closely monitoring the breeding pair of barn owls in the loft of the Earthwise barn at the society’s Boundary Bay site.
Aided by Sofi Hindmarch, wildlife biologist and Canadian barn owl expert, this pair of owls has successfully raised an average of three fully fledged barn owlets per year.
Delta Naturalists have been great supporters of this project and donated the latest nesting box.
With three cameras in the barn loft, including one in the nesting box, Earthwise staff, volunteers and visitors have been able to watch these birds throughout the year.
The two adults roost in the loft of the barn 365 days of the year and only venture out after dusk to forage for food. Once the barn owlets are old enough to leave the nesting box, they learn to fly in the safety of the barn loft, which accounts for the high number of owlets successfully fledging from the Earthwise site.
“Barn owls in British Columbia are now a threatened species and we have to ensure that measures are taken to reduce or mitigate any impacts on them,” says Hindmarch.
She has banded most of the Earthwise barn owlets, and in some cases measured their pesticide levels in order to be able to study any possible local impacts.
This year the female Earthwise barn owl laid her first egg in early April and hatching should commence in the next week. You can see the barn owls on the screen that is set up in the Earthwise Farm Store, which opens May 11.
Visit the Earthwise Society Facebook page for updates on the barn owls.