“It doesn’t matter if you’re born in a duck yard, so long as you are hatched from a swan’s egg!”
― Hans Christian Andersen, The Ugly Duckling
Our live webcam adventures have continued! Because of these amazing webcams, our class has been fortunate enough to watch eagle eggs hatch, learned valuable lessons about life in the wild. Some of those lessons have been exciting, like the ones we continue to discover through the Hancock Wildlife Foundation White Rock eagle cameras. Others have been harder to witness and to understand, like the ones we learned watching the Hancock Wildlife Foundation Delta eagle cameras. Sometimes animals get injured. Sometimes eggs are not viable. They are ALL important lessons, though.
It’s HARD to believe that just a few short weeks ago these BIG babies were teeny tiny fluffy newborns!
While we have continued to keenly watch the tremendous transformation of those gangly, fuzzy White Rock eagles into much larger and more mature juvenile eagles, we have ALSO had some AMAZING adventures watching the Texas Barn Owl webcam!
Wow … barn owls are SO beautiful … but … WAIT a minute! What’s up with those scary looking PINK things in the background? YIKES!
What follows are some of our owl reflections since first starting this learning journey:
“Wow! I am so impressed with how much these owls can grow! They come from pink little ugly BLOBS to these beautiful barn owls! I have some highlights and some lowlights. One of my lowlights is that one of the owlets died of starvation because it was not getting fed as much as it is supposed to. My highlight was that owl #4 was looking VERY skinny and it looked like it was going to DIE too, but then he started eating lots of rodents like mice and rats and he always swallows them WHOLE!!! And, it makes me happy that he is going to live.” ~Oliver
“Hi. My name is Olivia and I’ve learned that there is a box and inside the box is an owl nest. There are five owls. When we first saw the owls we thought they were ugly. Even Mrs. Renton thought they were ugly! Oh, and I really, really, REALLY wonder if an owl can have ten or more owlets. If you’re wondering what the mom and dad’s names are, their names are Dottie and Casper. The fourth owlet is Peanut. On June first the owls looked more owl like.” ~Olivia
“I’m going to tell you my lowlights first. My first lowlight is that one of the eggs was rotten so the owlet died. My other lowlight is that an owlet died from starvation. Now, let’s get onto my highlights. My first highlight is that Peanut used to be so small but now he’s getting bigger each day. Oh ya. I just forgot. Peanut is the smallest and the youngest owlet. My other highlight is that the two oldest owlets have some of their adult feathers. I wonder how old are owlets when they fly? I discovered that it takes about a month and a week for an owlet to get some of his adult feathers.” ~Adam
Oh, LOOK! They’re ALREADY starting to get some fluffy feathers! Phew! THAT’S a relief!
“Cute owls!!! I LOVE owls. One of the littlest owls died. I’m so sad.” ~Saadia
“One of my highlights is Peanut survived but the youngest starved to death and so the other owlets ate him. So now Peanut is the youngest. One of my lowlights is that the owlets are SO UGLY. In the past few days I’ve noticed the two older owlets are getting their discs on the face and I’ve noticed that Peanut s getting a little disc. The other thing I’ve noticed is that the three older ones are shedding their downy feathers and more feathers are appearing. I wonder when the first owlet will try to fly and when Peanut will fly? I wonder if the third one is a boy? Oh. I’ve got one more wonder. What do boy barn owls look like? Oh, ya. I forgot to tell you the mom Dottie battled a snake that was trying to get into the nest!” ~Shaye
See that big black LINE coming down the outside of the box? Well … THAT is a TEXAS rattlesnake … and it’s attempting to feast on an owlet or two. YUCK! Watch the FOOTAGE here … if you’re BRAVE enough! Mrs. Renton probably has her FEET up on a CHAIR right now! GULP!
“It’s extremely sad that Peanut is not doing well because Peanut has not been getting fed that well. Also, Peanut is 9 days younger. So, his brothers and sisters have not been giving him food. Before that, one of the baby owlets died so the other owlets ate him. One time, actually, a rattlesnake went onto the owl box and the owl grabbed the rattlesnake and grabbed it and threw it off the owl box. The owlets are starting to grow their real feathers. They’re also getting their heart shaped faces. Peanut is still pretty small but Peanut has still been growing lots. The biggest owl in the world is the Great Grey Owl. My two favourite owls are barn owls and great horned owls. I think burrowing owls are the cutest!” ~Carter
“Watching the owl cams has been so awesome because the Texas owlets are starting to have their heart faces. For the past few weeks the Texas owlets were real ugly.” ~Prayers
“Hoo-hoo-hoo? Marcus, THAT’S who! I’m here to tell you about our exciting, cute, kinda ugly in some cases, fantastic online live webcam about owls … barn owls! What I lover about the cam is probably watching the owls’ beaks vibrate up and down at the speed of light. But, the cam isn’t always happy; when we started watching this marvellous cam the smallest owlet sadly died of starvation, then the others ate it. I’ve noticed that barn owls lay usually five or six eggs. We have done some research and I’ve found out that owls listening holes aren’t usually symmetrical. Cool, right? So, to end this off I think I’ll talk about my wonders. I wonder what time barn owls mate. I also wonder how long it takes for an owlet to be born!” ~Marcus
This is a GREAT screen shot of the five surviving babies. They have a LONG way to go before we can call them ADORABLE!
“I can’t LOOK … they are SO ugly! Oh … hi there … umm … you must not know what I am talking about. Well, let me tell you, baby barn owls, they are SO ugly. Dottie, the mom, is beautiful just like Casper. Casper is the dad and they had six eggs.” ~Sofie
“Cool, I said to myself. They have heart shaped faces. My highlight was when the bigger owl was taking care of the smaller one, (Peanut). So cute. My lowlight was that some of the owlets died. When peanut was eating, he or she at a whole entire rodent and maybe some of the other owlets did the same thing too. Now I’ll tell you the names of the owls and owlet. Dottie, Casper and Peanut.” ~Luisa
“Is it going to hatch? We just started watching an owl cam. A few days later one of the babies died of starvation and the other babies ate it so I was sad. I was amazed at how Peanut, the youngest owl, ate a whole rate and 8 mice. I was so amazed. He’s small to do that. I think it is cool how the owls have their own names. I wonder how big an owl can get? I thought Peanut was jealous that the oldest owl has adult feathers. The owlets are changing like crazy. I wonder what the other owlet’s names will be. I wonder how much more time until the owlets turn into adults. I hope the owlets turn out great.” ~Thomas
Look at that AMAZING stretch! Wow! But … these owlets STILL have a LONG way to go before we stop SHIVERING, just a little, when we see them!
“Have you ever been interested in barn owls? Well then, today is your lucky day because you are going to learn about the barn owl webcams that me and my classmates explored.” ~Aleah
“My highlight with the barn owls was when the fearless mother, Dottie, fought a fierce Texas rattlesnake and won. Mrs. Renton had QUITE a hoot after that experience. My lowlight was when one egg didn’t hatch and one died of starvation because Dottie was so busy trying to feed the oldest ones she didn’t have enough time to feed the youngest one. At least Peanut, the fourth owlet, is getting some food. I wonder when the owlets first learn to fly. Currently owlet number 1, 2 and 3 are growing their adult feathers.” ~Riley
“Wow! I can’t believe how beautiful the adult owls are, and, and … the baby owlets are well … OOOOOGLY! That’s what I think. Some people think they are the most adorable baby animals ever! But … adorable isn’t the word I would use. I would use something like ooooogly! Yeah. That’s the word! I wonder how many species of owls there are in the world? My estimate would be … hmmm … maybe more than 1000. I don’t know! Can you believe how fast the owlets are growing? I mean it takes us a year to grow and the owlets … it’s only taking them weeks!” ~Marah
This is a screenshot taken on June 1st. MAN they are growing quickly. Thank GOODNESS they are STARTING to get some of their ADULT plumage! Phew! There is HOPE yet!
“Wow! Peanut the baby Texas barn owl swallowed a whole mouse! It was amazing. My highlight was that the older barn owl is starting to grow adult feathers. My lowlight was the younger died. It was sad. But that sometimes happens. I am so proud of Peanut. But what was really cool was Dottie the barn owl mom defending while protecting her babies from a rattlesnake. I wonder how old Peanut is. My other wonder is how did the snake get inside or maybe it escaped his cate? I also remember what they look like. They look ugly. It was really funny when the older one came in close to the camera. It makes my heart smile.” Roxanne
“Wow. I love the barn owls but the babies are ugly, though every day they get better. I mean, just look at them grow! My lowlight is that one died from starvation and the others ate it. But, I know how I can make you happy. It’s my highlight and it is that another barn owl called Peanut ate two whole rats and one rabbit. Sorry if I didn’t tell you the names. They are Dottie, Casper and Peanut. Did you know that barn owls find dark quiet places during the day? Did you know that barn owls are silent predators during the night? I don’t have a favourite because all of them do different things that I like.” ~Robert
“My lowlights are that the #6 owlet died of starvation. Even worse … BIG BRUTES … in other words the biggest owlets ATE #5 owlet WHOLE! And Peanut, #4, almost died but luckily survived! That is one of my highlights. Oh, alright. One more. I’m very, VERY glad that the owlets, at the most, aren’t UGLY anymore!!! The mom’s name is Dottie. Dad’s is Casper and #4 is Peanut. Unfortunately, #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5, (the dead one), didn’t and probably won’t have a name and that naming thing is another of my lowlights.” ~Faith
Ugh. STILL not enough adult plumage!
“Dear reader, here are some barn owl reflections! So, ready? I can’t HEAR you! So, I’m sad because the sixth egg won’t hatch and the fifth owlet died of starvation. The owlets are SO ooogly, (ugly), but the mother is beautiful. The owlets are growing so FAST! The first and second owlets grew their disks! It was funny when peanut, the youngest one, looked up at owlet number one and thoughts: I will look like that some day! Did you know that barn owls roost in trees? ONce, Peanut swallowed a rat, or rabbit, whole! Another time, Peanut rustled owlet number one for a rat but lost!” ~Mani
“Ewww, I thought. Sure enough, there was a beautiful barn owl cam up, and a beautiful barn owl was in it. But … the babies were SO ugly … which mother would take care of those kind of things? They REALLY need a MAKEOVER! A few weeks later I walked over to the carpet … and saw the ugly baby owls. I kept trying to hide from the smartboard but it probably wasn’t a good idea, so I kept my cool and sat on the carpet and stared at the beautiful grown up barn owl. Oh, WHEN will they turn to pretty barn owls? It seemed impossible. But, I kept that a secret and the next day, I looked at the screen and the baby barn owls … they looked a WHOLE lot better than a week ago! They were cuter, (well … they looked BETER, but they were still white), than my stuffed bear at home!” ~Anita
“I adore the barn owls, especially since they aren’t ooogly anymore. Ewww. It was miserable the day the fifth owlet died. I sank into deep thought of how painful it would be to starve. That was a huge lowlight for me. My highlight was the fourth owlet, Peanut, did get enough food. He even ate a whole rabbit. It’s mind boggling that an owlet can swallow it whole. Things that big? You would think you would choke on it, big time. I wonder how they do it? It’s weird and odd at the same time. I wonder if their throats stretch so they don’t choke on it. I discovered that barn owls lay five to six eggs a year. They take around four weeks to hatch! I wonder what the most eggs laid by one barn owl ever known is? I also wonder what type of owl flies the fastest and the fastest record?” ~William
A June 8th screenshot … looking better EVERY day! TRIPLE phew! This dude is DEFINITELY striking a pose for the camera!!!
“At the beginning of April, we started watching a Texas barn owl cam!!! The father is called Casper, and the mom is called Dottie. They have five chicks and one egg. Who knew owls have so many chicks? Sadly, we found out that the egg was non-viable and one of the chicks died of starvation. The smallest chick, #4, is called Peanut. My highlight is that Dottie protected them from a rattlesnake. I wonder if Peanut will survive. I hope he will!” ~Bryan
“My lowlight was that one of the barn owls died from starvation. And, then, the other owlets ate him. What I have learned from the owl cam was the thing around a barn owl’s face is called a disk. The biggest kind of owl is the great gray owl.” ~Liam
“Wow! Now we are looking at the Texas barn owls. Here is one sad lowlight. One of the barn owlets died because of starvation and the other owlets ate it! And, the mom Dottie had another egg. The sad part was that Dottie couldn’t incubate the egg because there were too many owlets. The great gray owl is the biggest owl in the world. My highlight: Dottie was attacking a rattlesnake. I discovered the owlets have the disk on their faces. I wonder how long it takes for the owlets to grow fully. I wonder when they start hunting for food. I wonder when they flu. I wonder when they fledge. I wonder when they can lay eggs.” ~Alvin
Screenshot June 13th. Each and EVERY day these owlets change. It is adorable to see how they huddle around Peanut to keep him warm. Phew … and … we DON’T see any TEXAS rattlesnakes slithering down from the roof. Mrs. Renton can NOW put her FEET back down on the ground!
“Children are born with a sense of wonder and an affinity for Nature. Properly cultivated, these values can mature into ecological literacy, and eventually into sustainable patterns of living.”
~Zenobia Barlow, “Confluence of Streams”