The Ellis Bird Farm’s Great Horned Owls, Ellie and Albert are nesting once again at the farm. You can watch as the couple raises their owlets. Ellie and Albert have been named after the original owners of the farm and when the pair choose to nest there, the farm puts up a live stream on their nest.
“It's really hard to tell if these are the same owls that have been nesting in previous years, but the coloration is very similar and the fact that they're returning to the same site sort of indicates to us that they're probably the same pair that has been here for quite a few years now,” explained Sandy Van Dijk, Site Manager of the Ellis Bird Farm.
The pair believed to be Ellie and Albert have parented several owlets on the farm. Great horned owls can live up to be 100-year-old. This year, Ellie and Albert have been nesting since late March and right now, there are two eggs in their nest.
“We think that the eggs will hatch around the end of April so maybe in the last week or so. Then, the owlets will be up in the nest. It will take about six weeks before they actually start leaving the nest and walking along the branches on the trees near the nest. Then, it will be another four weeks or so before they actually start trying to fly,” explained Van Dijk.
This year, you can watch the owls in clearer quality than ever before because the farm has upgraded their live stream camera.
“It's really fun to watch them. You get to see Albert bring Ellie some food every once in a while, typically in the evening. If you can stay up a little later to watch the camera, that’s the best chance of seeing some action. You'll also see Ellie, she's usually sleeping during the day while she's brooding the eggs,” explained Van Dijk.
For now, Ellie will stay in the nest but she does occasionally rotate the eggs.
“Every once in a while, she'll sort of fluff up her feathers and you'll see her doing something with the eggs. That's her turning the eggs over. If the eggs just stay in one spot, the embryo will actually stick to the inside of the shell. She has to keep rolling them around so that they that they get moved around and exposed to her the warmth,” she added.
You can check out the live stream by clicking here.
The public can look forward to heading out to the Ellis Bird Farm for their opening day on May 23rd. This year the farm’s Café will be open for the first time since the pandemic started. Additionally in late fall, the farm extended their trail system throughout all 640 acres of the farm which will also be available to explore.