Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) is delighted to announce that the first of 7 barn owl eggs has hatched on its webcam, which is sponsored by Dorset Tea. The chick hatched in the early hours of Sunday morning (13th May).
The barn owls, which live in a specially designed box on the Lorton Meadows Nature Reserve in Weymouth, have been roosting there for the winter, which has been streamed via the webcam to its followers all over the world. They laid the first egg on 9th April and now have 6 eggs left to hatch.
Last year, the barn owls which took up residence in the box saw 5 chicks successfully fledge. This was the most amount we have seen since the box was installed in 2010.
DWT Communications Officer, Sally Welbourn, said, “It’s really wonderful to be able to share the lives of these barn owls with such a huge audience of people. We’re looking forward to seeing the barn owls raise their chicks and hoping to beat our record from last year and see all 7 chicks fledge. Their parents have a lot of work ahead of them though – owlets have huge appetites and can eat their own weight of food in a single night. Luckily the nature reserve at Lorton Meadows in Weymouth has good natural hunting habitat and feeding opportunities to hopefully sustain them.”
Barn Owls are in decline nationally, due to lack of good quality habitat. The Lorton Meadows nature reserve is a 75 hectare reserve with a variety of habitat including wildflower meadows, woodland and hedgerows which provides suitable prey for barn owls, such as voles and other small mammals.
DWT is currently running an appeal to help ensure that the habitat at Lorton Meadows continues to provide food and shelter for barn owls and other species of wildlife who depend on the nature reserve for survival. If you’d like to donate, visit www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/barnowls.
To view the webcam, visit www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/raptorcam.