Barn Owl Fledglings
Spread Your Wings and Fly
Before they actually fledge the box for the first time, we have observed with our owlets, that they usually start their first attempt by hanging out of the box in the hole opening. This seems to give them the ability to experience the full use of their wings outside of the box without actually having to fly. Since they are usually about 12-15 ft. off the ground, this gives them a little trial run before actually making the move of flight. In the next day or two, they will finally fledge the box for the first time.
Baby #5 Hangs Out of the Box Then Fledges
At some point between 50-60 days after hatching, the young owls will leave the nest. They still will need to rely on their parents to provide food for a while longer, until they are more able to hunt on their own. They will hang around close by to the nest area practicing getting used to how their wings work and how to later find their way back into the nest box on the following morning. They will be found very close to the box for the next few days to weeks, venturing off more and more as they get used to their surroundings and the ability to fly. They often will line up on or around the box screeching loudly for their parents to make food drops for them. For a while longer, they will return to the nest box in the morning and stay there during the day. After 10-20 days, the owlets will not return to the nest for the day but will still return in the evening for food for a little while longer.
After all the babies have fully fledged and left the nest box, mom and dad will come back for a short time. About a week after our babies had left, Gerald called his lady Gertrude to meet him in the nest box with sweet chirpings and twittering’s. They returned to the nest box pretty much every night for a while and then started coming around less, especially Gertrude. We saw Gerald almost every night but Gertrude only off and on. We think it is Gerald’s job to keep an eye on it while they’re not staying at the nest site. Gertrude will start showing up more and more as it nears breeding season. For us, that is about mid-November and by mid-December, she will be back inside the box getting ready for nesting again.