Little Owl lays her third egg

This female Little Owl started to incubate her eggs shortly after she laid her second egg on Wednesday 22nd April at 20:15 hours. Full incubation lasts for 29 – 31 days. She laid her third egg on Friday 24th April at 22:34 hours; there was 50 hours and 19 minutes between her second and third egg. I’ve looked at her tarsus (lower leg) and noticed that she does not have a bird ring around it. The previous female was ringed, so this is a new female at this site. Little Owls are monogamous, which means pairs remain together for at least one breeding season, and usually until one of the pair dies. The average UK clutch size is 3 – 4 eggs. I wonder if there will be another egg when I visit this site again in two days time. Check back to find out!

Incubation breaks to catch prey

Female Little Owls start to incubate their eggs after the second egg is laid. This female has laid three eggs so far and is incubating her eggs for 18-22 hours a day. This video shows her returning to her nest box with a field vole. She left the nest box at 03:16 hours and returned at 05:34 hours. Her eggs must have cooled a lot during this time. She stored this prey item in the corner of the box and resumed incubation. Her next break was in 10 hours. 

Male providing prey to incubating female

A paired male will provide the incubating female with food to help sustain her. Ideally, the male will provide most of the food so the female leaves the nest less often. In this video, the male returns to the box with a worm for the female. She eats it and then she returned to her eggs to resume incubation.