Three fluffy owlets growing up in steeple; first flight weeks away

Watch these three barn owlets grow up through Ferndale Music Company’s owl camera live streaming online from the bell tower of the Old Steeple.
Watch these three barn owlets grow up through Ferndale Music Company’s owl camera live streaming online from the bell tower of the Old Steeple. Ferndale Music Company — Contributed

The three owlets are living in Ferndale Music Company’s Old Steeple but folks can watch the wind ruffle their feathers — or more accurately, down, since they have yet to grow real feathers — live online through the music company website owl camera.

The live stream went online in January but Truman — the mama barn owl named after Jim Carrey’s character in the 1998 film “The Truman Show” — laid six eggs over a three-week period in March and April. Five of the eggs hatched but only three have survived. The owlets are now six weeks old, Ferndale Music Company and Old Steeple owner Paul Beatie said.

“When the one died people were kind of freaking out, asking what we were going to do about it,” he said. “It’s just nature.”

One concerned owl watcher even presented Beatie with a log book of Old Steeple owl and owlet activities and her own theory on why the two owlets didn’t survive.

“People get very attached to them,” he said. “ ... Some people are watching every day.”

During the day the fuzzy little owlets can be seen huddling together for warmth in the corner of the Old Steeple.

“They seem to be doing good,” Beatie said. “They’re starting to grow feathers so they look less like little dinosaurs.”

Their faces already have the typical heart-shaped pattern common for barn owls and the tips of their wings and tails are just starting to look like actual feathers. Lucky viewers who tune in at the right time may even see Truman feeding her babies.

Though the owlets have yet to grow markings to tell them apart, two have been named, Beatie said. The first born was named Cody after someone from a Sacramento TV station who interviewed Beatie about the owl camera and the second born was named Roy after someone who performed in the Old Steeple.

“During his concert, the owls mated twice and the next day the egg was laid,” he said.

According to the Audubon Society website, owlets take their first flight between 55 and 65 days after hatching which means the owlets could take the leap from the Old Steeple in the coming weeks.

“Young return to sleep at [the] nest or nearby for several more weeks,” the website states.

“By the fall, they’ll leave and find somewhere else to roost,” Beatie said.

“Typically barn owls mate for life so we anticipate [Truman] will be back.”

Even if she doesn’t return to roost again, he said the camera will remain streaming multiple views of the Victorian Village.

For more information or to keep an eye on the owlets visit ferndalemusiccompany.com.

Hunter Cresswell can be reached at 707-441-0506.

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