We have 3 active nests in our arena. Owls are sexually monomorphic, which means males and females look alike. They nest in the box beams but will sit on the uprights and watch lessons and other horse activities without being the least bit bothered.
This was the first time I ever caught a picture of an owl with their catch. They catch and eat small rodents so they are very beneficial and an asset to our barn. While we do our best to keep all grain in secure bins, mice still happen. The barn owls and Fluff, our barn cat, do a great job of keeping the vermin population under control.
Barn owls are not the best housekeepers. It is not uncommon for their babies to fall out of the nest as they climb around the debris the parents drop as they bring food to their offspring. I found this baby in our arena one morning. I immediately took baby to the house, and warmed him up, as heat is the most important need for any injured or debilitated bird. I found a local owl rehabilitation center, and took him there for them to raise and eventually release baby into the wild.
This baby is approximately 8 weeks old. Their wings are the first to fully develop adult feathers so they can practice flying. The rest of their down feathers are quickly. replaced with adult feathers We typically see these babies once. Then they are gone.
This baby is approximately the same age as the previous picture. You can see how the wings have adult feathers while the rest of the body still has down. Baby had taken a first flight and his unscheduled landing was an empty trash can. Baby was less than impressed when I took the can into the arena and turned it on its side so he could escape. He thanked me by threatening me with his toughness.
If you click on the picture you can see a TikTok video of a 2023 baby, whose unscheduled landing put him right in the arena aisle. He needed to be moved so the horses wouldn't hurt him as they came in for their meal.
Deer are quite common on the ranch. It is not unusual to see them grazing right alongside the horses. With our close proximity to JBLM and their hundreds of acres of forest, we are blessed to enjoy the wildlife who cross our ranch or call the back forested area, home.