A pair of barn owls in Indiana whose nest is visible through a webcam has laid a second round of eggs after the first round failed.
This second clutch of eggs has produced five owlets.
You can watch the owl family at wildlife.IN.gov/8183.htm.
The nest cam is run by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish & Wildlife.
Earlier this year, the nesting pair hatched three owlets; however, none survived. The pair mated again and laid eggs in May. At least two eggs have hatched, producing owlets that are visible on the webcam.
One owlet looks larger. Typically, owl siblings hatch at different times, producing chicks of different ages and sizes. This is called hatching asynchrony.
The barn owl pair has been living in a DNR-built nest box inside a metal pole barn since 2009.
In 2013, this nest was one of only 18 known barn owl nests in the state.
Nest boxes for barn owls have been placed by the Wildlife Diversity Program of the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife since 1984. Information on the Wildlife Diversity Program is at wildlife.IN.gov/2356.htm.
Barn owls are endangered in Indiana due to habitat loss. Barn owls need large areas of pasture, hayfields, grasslands or wet meadows for hunting meadow voles, their favorite food. For breeding habitat, feeding areas must be near a suitable nest site, usually a tree cavity or a man-made substitute like a nest box.
Modern farms consist of large corn and soybean fields with few idle areas or pasture for hunting. Furthermore, old wooden barns are disappearing and being replaced by pole barns with fewer access points for owls.
Research and information on barn owls are supported by donations to the Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund. This year, the fund is in peril, with donations down by more than 50 percent. You can donate at endangeredwildlife.IN.gov to help barn owls and more than 750 nongame and endangered species. The future of Indiana wildlife depends on it.