Panoramic landscape view across Arne reserve on a sunny day in July, the water running through the centre shining, looking almost metallic

Arne Nature Reserve live webcams

Through spring and summer we hope to follow the ups and downs of family life as we join nesting barn owls. They will normally be out hunting each side of dawn and dusk, but also during the night – depending how much they need to hunt.

Live webcam

Watch a non-stop live stream from RSPB Arne nature reserve.

Black and white still taken from the view of the barn owl nest box webcam at Arne reserve, showing an adult bird with what looks like a big ball of cotton wool balls, the chicks

What am I looking at?

The barn owl cam is focused on a nest box carefully placed at Arne where it is free from draughts, a good size, undisturbed and there is suitable habitat.

Barn owls make use of rough grasslands, hay meadows, field margins of hedgerows and farm buildings, and prominent trees like the older, mature trees at Arne, for nesting and hunting opportunities.

Barn Owls will breed from April to August, and a second brood may be reared when food sources are high.

A breeding pair will use the same nest site year after year if undisturbed although this nest box has been in use for many years so unlikely we see the same pair. The female lays four to seven white eggs in an unlined hole of a tree or barn.

Following the Barn owl family ups and downs is not easy, rainy nights where hunting is sparse, bigger siblings competing over food, and sometimes the chicks don't make it.

As the chicks get bigger the adults will roost away from the nest, they haven't abandoned them!

See our FAQ below for more information.

Thank you

Thanks to the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund through the Hyde's Heath project that has funded the Middlebere, Kestrel and Barn owl cameras.

Heritage Fund logo - blue circle
A barn owl perched on a fence post, looking into the camera

Barn owl factfile

  • Barn owls often mate with the same partner the next season.
  • The female, who is larger, with darker spots, will brood the eggs and newly hatched chicks, while the male provides food.
  • Once the chicks are a few weeks old, both parents hunt for food. The adults shred the prey and feed the young chicks– it can be a bit gruesome! You might see piled up prey as adults often stock-up to meet their voracious demand!
  • As the chicks grow, they eat whole prey. These barn owls are completely wild, so we do not intervene, as nature unfolds, good or bad, for the chicks.
  • Nestboxes, and the habitat management at Arne are vital for these distinctive birds of prey. Changes to habitats and loss of nesting sites across the UK led to significant declines over recent decades, but numbers are now more stable.
  • The birds, their nests, eggs and young are fully protected by law. Thanks to funding for this camera and livestream from the National Lottery Heritage Fund you can safely tune into the secret life of a family of barn owls!
  • Barn owls are super adapted to hunting small mammals, like field voles, wood mice and common shrews. They have amazing vision in low light, excellent hearing and the famous silent winged flight due to special wing feathers.
  • The best time to see the adults bringing in food is dusk and they will continue hunting overnight
  • Rainy nights are less successful as their feathers are not waterproof and the sound of rain disguises the movement of their prey.

 

All of our cameras were installed by Wildlife Windows Ltd

Arne Bird Feeder Cam

The Arne Bird Feeder Cam

The Arne Bird Feeder Cam features a wide range of garden and woodland birds, clumsy wood pigeons, brightly coloured goldfinch, an array of dunnock, house sparrows, tits and finches! We try to avert the odd cheeky squirrel and keep the feeders topped up. The feeder is successful, in part, due to the nearby cover provided by long grass, shrubs and trees that the birds can seek out if they feel nervous.

Factfile

• The Arne peninsular extends into Poole Harbour. This is an internationally important place for the numbers of wetland birds. There are a wide range of species of waders, waterfowl, herons - like the grey heron and little egret, and waterbirds like the spoonbill that can be seen on an annual basis in Poole harbour and might be seen at Middlebere channel.

• Poole Harbour hosts over 25,000 waterbirds each winter. Its rich mudflats and shallow waters provide an all-you-can-eat buffet of invertebrates and fish to keep the birds fuelled over the tough winter months. Other birds move though the harbour in the spring and autumn, providing an important staging post on migration.

• The varied bills of wading bird species mean they can forage alongside each other as they seek different creatures in the water, or at different depths in the mud.

• Many birds can be seen at Middlebere as they follow the receding, or get ahead of the rising, tide.

• As well as its wintering and passage waterbirds, Poole Harbour is also nationally- and internationally-important for breeding colonies of common terns, Sandwich terns and Mediterranean gulls.

Spotted a bird you don't recognise?

It's easy to name birds using our tool