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Art Knapp
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So Much More Than Plants
So Much More Than Plants
Art Knapp

Art Knapp Surrey BC – OwlCam

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Art Knapp Surrey | Conservation Committment

Update:  August 22, 2017

We will probably get to enjoy the barn owlets at Surrey Art Knapp for another week before they leave the nest at night, and with the guidance from their parents test their wings for the first time. Despite their night time adventures, we will likely see them come back and sleep in the nest during the day for another 2-3 weeks. These two owlets will have their work cut out for them this fall and winter figuring out how to hunt, find a safe roost site in the daytime, not get hit by vehicles and eventually find a partner in the spring to nest with.

Overall it has been a late breeding season on the south coast of BC. This might be related to the really snowy winter we had. Typically the majority of owlets fledge (i.e. leave the nest) in July, and compared to other local nest sites this nest is about 2-3 weeks behind the rest, as most of the owlets fledged in late July.  

This next week the barn owlets will continue with the behaviour we have already seen: more and more wing flapping to gain strength and more wing coordination, and playful behaviour testing out their sharp and feisty talons, which they will soon use for hunting.

Many of the local barn owlets that fledge in this area get banded with a unique ID band. We wanted to also band these two owlets but this nest site is very high off the ground and tricky to access, so for the safety of the owlets, we decided not to band them. However, band returns from the region show that most barn owlets don’t travel far after they fledge, on average 20-30 km, so hopefully these two barn owlets will find homes close by.

Enjoy the final days observing these young owlets. A lot of fun and interesting behaviour has already been documented and I’m sure we will see more unique and intimate moments this coming week before we will wish them the best of luck!

OUR OWLS

Art Knapp Garden Centre is situated immediately adjacent to the Serpentine Fen Conservation Area. As part of our commitment to helping preserve and maintain our heritage and indigenous wildlife species, we have undertaken an owl repatriation project right on our own property. We are proud to be recognized as one of western Canada’s ‘Owl Hot Spots’. Have a look up toward the back of the Garden Spot and you’ll see 3 of our newly erected ‘Owl Barrels’. They add to the nine we currently have on the property, for a total of twelve owl houses - which house a large number of barn owls.

BARN OWL (TYTO ALBA)

Barn owls nest, on the pellets that they regurgitate, in barns where they find shelter and protection from the elements and possible predators. Barn owls and farmers have a unique, symbiotic relationship in which the farmer provides roosting, foraging, and nesting areas for the Barn owls, and in return, the owls supply very effective mouse traps–themselves! A family of hungry barn owls can consume as many as 1,000 mice per year! In the spring the female may lay five-seven eggs, laying one egg every second or third day. Because barn owls lay their eggs over a few days time, the older ones get stronger more quickly and have a better chance of survival than the ones born last. Quite often, from five hatchlings, only two will survive. The ones that do survive to mate and have young are usually the strongest and their owlets inherit that strength from them. Although barn owls can be found almost worldwide, they are considered “vulnerable” by COSEWIC (Committee On the Status of Endangered Wildlife In Canada) and are disappearing from many parts of Canada.

Barn owls have experienced a steady decline due to loss of nesting sites (fewer wooden barns and more barns made of aluminum) and habitat (wet meadows and undisturbed grasslands to forage for food). Barn owl box programs in the Fraser Valley and other regions of the province help provide nesting sights for these owls.

For more information on barn owl habitat restoration efforts and information on our resident owls and and other British Columbian owl species (Barn owl, Barred owl, Boreal owl, Burrowing owl, Flammulated owl, Great Grey owl, Great Horned owl, Long Eared owl, Northern Hawk owl, Northern Pygmy owl, Saw-Whet owl, Screech owl, Short Eared owl, Snowy owl and the Spotted owl) go here:

Northwest Wildlife - Owls of BC

And for anyone who finds an orphaned owl, be sure to contact the folks at OWL Canada (just down the highway off of Mud Bay):

Owl Canada

Ask us how you can be involved in helping to restore lost habitat for these wonderful creatures.

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