I’m delighted to share that all four eggs have hatched! The female Little Owl rarely left the nest box during the final week of egg incubation. She continued to sit tight on her eggs as they hatched and the footage below shows the moment when the hatchlings were first visible. The first hatchling was visible on the 24th May at 01:58 hours; this was 31 days, 5 hours and 13 minutes after the second egg laying date. She started egg incubation after laying her second egg. There appears to be a large number of black ants inside the nesting chamber – you can see the ants crawling en masse each time the female elevates from her incubation position. They are congregating in the nest debris under her brood patch, which is a temporary patch of featherless skin on her abdomen.
This female continued to sit tight on her hatchling and three eggs. Later on that day, a further two hatchlings were visible at 21:43 hours, each weighing only 10 grams, and the forth egg hatched the following day at 22:52 hours. At this stage, the male is catching most of the food for the female of this pair and their young. She feeds and broods their nestlings, which cannot see or keep themselves warm yet. The parents now face the daunting task of keeping up with the ever increasing food demands of their rapidly growing young. The male Barn Owl intruder has not returned so far. Please check back for our latest news!
This video shows the hatching period of this breeding attempt. The first egg hatched in the early hours of Sunday the 24th May. Two more eggs hatched later on that day and the forth egg hatched on Monday the 25th May at 22:52. The female wriggles side-to-side when she first sits to maximise the skin contact of her warm brood patch on her eggs and/or young.