Friday Feathered Fact
A Barn Owl family is somewhat unique by having many (up to a dozen) nestlings that range dramatically in size from a 2-inch new-hatch to a sibling 10 inches tall. This occurs because the Barn Owl immediately sits on the first egg while adding a new egg each day. A two-week size difference between the first and the last sibling can be remarkable. In sharp contrast, a female quail lays eggs over many days but does not start incubating until all have been laid. This delay tactic helps to synchronize the hatching of the chicks at the same time. The peeping of one quail chick inside the egg stimulates all chicks to begin peeping and hatching at the same time. Once hatched and dried out, the entire family leaves the nest, leaving behind the scent of freshly hatched eggshells that would attract predators. A slow-hatching chick not synchronized with the rest of the eggs is at risk of being left behind.

Barn Owl Nestlings