Web Owls Draw Online Eyes

Audubon Starr Ranch Sanctuary

A new video is buzzing online and the buzz is created by the subjects themselves, baby birds.

Web cameras set up inside the nest of a mother barn owl at a California animal sanctuary are giving online viewers a front-row glimpse into Mother Nature as it unfolds.

Viewers see the mother owl pecking at the egg shells with her beak, and then watch as the babies open their eyes for the first time, unaware that thousands of online viewers are eyeing them right back.

Barn owls are the most common owl species in the world and their populations extend throughout the southern and western United States.  The cameras were set up by preservationists at the  Starr Ranch Sanctuary in Orange County, Calif.,  a 4,000-acre preserve owned and operated by the National Audubon Society.

The online videos capture just part of the barn owls' nesting process.  A mother barn owl incubates the eggs for 30-33 days, and feeds her young birds in the nest  for 55-65 days.  A pair of owls will incubate 2-3 broods of 2-18 eggs each during the nesting season.

The Sanctuary, which houses and raises the owls after their birth, offers the online viewing as part of its mission to offer educational programs that stimulate an interest in birds and habitat conservation.  The site also conducts research on avian conservation, according to its website.

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