Newly-Hatched Great Horned Owlets Are Live on Camera

by | Apr 11, 2024 | Pressroom


Live bird cam allows the world to watch as owlets grow and fledge the nest over the coming weeks

Austin, TX– In April, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and Cornell Lab of Ornithology collaborated to launch a live bird camera featuring the Center’s beloved great horned owl, Athena, in her nesting site just beyond the entrance to the Center’s gardens.

Athena laid two eggs in early March, and both have hatched. Now, the world can watch along live as the two tiny owlets grow and fledge the nest over the coming several weeks.

Link: Athena the Great Horned Owl Live Cam

Athena is well known in the Austin area because she nests in a very conspicuous place, right above the entrance to the Wildflower Center’s Courtyard. Her nest is in a raised planter, safely nestled in a corner and underneath a sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri) plant that provides some shade and shelter. When conditions are right and her eggs hatch into owlets, the nest location provides a rare opportunity to view a wild great horned owl – up close and personal – rearing her young.

Athena arrived at the nest and laid her first egg on March 1. On March 5, a second egg was laid. Since then, Athena has been incubating the eggs, while her partner has been spotted delivering food to Athena around dawn and dusk most days.

Thousands of people visit the Wildflower Center each spring in hopes of seeing Athena and her owlets, who, due to the nest location, are merely feet away from garden guests. The new live camera includes infrared technology, which allows nighttime viewing of the mostly nocturnal owls’ behaviors, from incubating to feeding to fledging.

“Watching Athena so closely in her nest through the new camera has been an incredible experience this year,” says Lee Clippard, Executive Director of the Wildflower Center. “And while, it’s always been special watching the owlets grow and fledge in person, the camera will make this year extra special as we see them up close.”

Athena the owl has appeared each year during the start of wildflower season, incubating her eggs for around four weeks, then caring for the owlets – with the help of her mate – for up to six weeks following hatching.

“It will be exciting to see how quickly the owlets develop,” said Charles Eldermire, Project Leader for Cornell Lab’s Bird Cams. “Watching them transform from sleepy, wobbly nestlings to active, bright-eyed youngsters in only a few weeks really underscores the tremendous pace of the owls’ breeding season.”

For more information about visiting Athena at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, visit the website here.

Get the latest updates on Athena and her owlets by following the the Wildflower Center’s Instagram here.

All of the Cornell Lab’s live cams may be accessed here.

For press inquiries, contact Scott Simons, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Wildflower Center.

About The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is part of The University of Texas at Austin and welcomes more than 245,000 guests to its 284 acres of gardens, trails, and exhibitions each year, fulfilling its mission to inspire the conservation of native plants. Designated the State Botanic Garden and Arboretum by the Texas legislature in 2017, the Wildflower Center’s investments in science, education and conservation include a native seed bank, one of the most comprehensive databases of North American native plants, and a research program in collaboration with the University. Founded in 1982, the Center is the embodiment of Lady Bird Johnson’s environmental legacy. As she noted, “Our Center works for more than the lovely blossoms in our open spaces. We are concerned for all of North America’s native plants, from the smallest sprout to the tallest tree.”

About the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds.

Press Contact

Scott Simons, Director of Marketing and Communications, [email protected] 

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