This cute species tends to lay between 3 and 5 eggs between April and May and will incubate for roughly 30 days. Chicks will fledge around 37 to 40 days after hatching.

Little Owls are not quite so strictly nocturnal, and can often be seen during daylight hours, but they still do much of their hunting at night. Like their larger counterparts, they will readily hunt rodents, but much of their diet is made up of insects and worms.

We hope that you enjoy watching our webcams, the feeds for which were kindly provided by the Beleef de Lente Project, courtesy of Vogelbescherming Nederland and so some multilingual messages may appear on occasion.

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Help your Garden Birds

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. When do Little Owls hunt?

    Outside of the breeding season Little Owls will mainly hunt early morning or early evening. However if there a young they will hunt throughout the day. When incubating or when the chicks are first hatched, the male will be the main food provider. Once the chicks can be left alone for longer periods the female will go hunting again.

  2. When do Little Owls start incubation? Should they start once first egg is laid?

    Little Owls will only really start incubation just before the last egg is laid. They usually lay between 3 and 5 eggs, so it’s common for the first eggs to remain exposed for long periods – if this happens don’t worry it’s normal. The advantage of this approach is that chicks will usually hatch shortly after each other, meaning there’s no major age and size difference between them.

  3. How can you tell the difference between a male and female Little Owl?

    It is very difficult to tell the difference between male and female Little Owls, as unfortunately there’s not really any visible differences between them. You can only really tell in the breeding season, as behaviour changes.

  4. I would like to put up a nest box for my garden birds, where should I site it for best results?

    The best height for your nest box is widely accepted as being between 1.5m and 5.5m high (5ft - 18ft respectively). However, if your area has a particularly high cat population it is best to site your box even higher.

    If you only have an exposed site to offer, face the box somewhere between north through east to southeast, avoiding prevailing winds and strong sunlight. If siting in woodland, the dry side of the tree trunk offers the most protection. By their nature, open nest boxes require more cover; siting them near to climbing plants where they can be partially obscured is ideal. Siting your nest box near vegetation also aids young birds taking their first flights as it gives them both physical support and good cover.

    A clear flight path into the box works best and avoid sites such as the top of fences that make it easier for predators to get at the box.

  5. How often should I clean my nest box?

    Cleaning the boxes out at the end of each breeding season will encourage them to be used again in future years. As the nesting time of birds varies from species to species we suggest you wait until October when the last of the birds will have left. The nest may come out easily but if there are any deposits scrape them out, minding the dust as you go. We recommend using hot water rather than chemicals to remove any parasites that remain. As a final word of caution, take care when opening your nest box as other species such as bats, wasps and bumblebees may have started to use the nest!

  6. Does the colour of my nest box matter?

    Although birds recognise colours, the colour of the nest box does not matter. However, birds prefer a breeding place that is as natural as possible. They do this in order not to be noticed by predators.

  7. Will my nest box be used straight away?

    Although you may want to see your new nest box used immediately, this is actually quite rare.

    Birds like to 'check them out' first to become accustomed to them and to ensure that they are suitable. Don't give up though as the sight of newly fledged chicks is well worth the wait! Nest boxes erected before the breeding season begins (February) are therefore more likely to be used.

  8. I’m having trouble viewing the cameras?

    Visitors sometimes experience technical problems when trying to view the live stream cameras. A multi-lingual message usually appears on the camera display if we are aware of the issues. Please be patient, we will try and get the feeds back up and running as soon as we can.