The Earthwise barn owl laid her first egg of the season on Easter Sunday.
For the last five years, Earthwise volunteers and staff have been closely monitoring a breeding pair of barn owls at the Earthwise Garden. The pair has made its home in the loft area of the Earthwise barn at Southlands, which contains a nesting box.
The owls, an endangered species in Canada, roost in the rafter area all year round and only venture out to forage for food after dusk.
Wildlife biologist Sofi Hindmarch closely follows most of the barn owls in the Lower Mainland and has studied the Earthwise adult pair for many years, banding most of their owlets.
The Earthwise barn owls have successfully raised 15 owlets in the barn over the past five years.
Last July, the adult pair suddenly left the safety of their barn loft and were not recorded on the in-house cameras until just a few weeks ago.
Hindmarch was concerned when the owls left last summer, and thinks the female returned recently to the safety of the nesting box to fatten up for her next brood. She was thrilled when Earthwise volunteers were able to photograph mom laying her first egg just in time for Easter Sunday, watched by a proud dad.
To maintain the safety of the breeding pair, no construction work will be done on the Earthwise barn as part of the Southlands project until this present brood has fledged.
Earthwise volunteers have reported the female barn owl is presently brooding on another three eggs. Hindmarch expects the first egg to hatch in mid-May.
For updates on the Earthwise barn owls, visit the Earthwise Society Facebook page.