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29 May 2013

Barn Owl chick, or something else?

Female Barn Owl snores loudly from the nest, but what is that faint squeaking call? South Kerry, 25th May 2013 (Michael O'Clery).

At manynest  sites, the 'snoring' call of the female Barn Owl at the nest can be faint, muffled by walls or vegetation. Her call is directed at the male, as she demands food while she incubates the eggs and young. At this old building in Co. Kerry, the owls recently moved nest site within the same structure and are no longer nesting inside a chimney shaft. Now they are in a cavity in the wall nearby and as a result the noises emanating from the nest are much louder. This was recorded last Saturday night inside the building. The female is 'snoring' loudly, as she did for the full hour and ten minutes before the male arrived back with food. In between her loud and persistent snores, you can just hear a faint squeaking call. Is this a young Barn Owl, perhaps just a few days old, or is it something else? It was coming from the same area as the nest, but we are not yet sure if it is in fact the first Barn Owl chick of the season.  If it is, then perhaps as the chick grows, this quiet squeaking call will develop into the louder,  more recognisable snoring call, similar to the female's, within a week or two.