The Barn Owl nest box
The main website is written in German, but in the following i will give you some short translations. By clicking one of the links below you reach the corresponding page or chapter of the original website in German.
There you'll find some details and a plan how to build your own nestbox. You should use only real old parts of real wood that have no protection painting. It's very useful to install a trap to look inside the box, for eventual cleaning or inspection of the nest.
The lower picture shows the original nest box seen from inside the house. You can see clearly the first camera and the additional infrared light emitting diodes (LEDs). The second camera has been installed on the very right upper corner (inside the box).
You will see the frontside of the house with small aeration slot as you find them in older farm buildings. The nest box is just behind this slot, attached to the wall inside.
The picture on the right shows how to place a nest box in a church tower.
In 2001 we used one channel of an ISDN-line. A standard PC (AMD 850) with a videograbber card is connected to the line via an ISDN router. As a surfer clicked on the webcam link, the streaming server of P & T Luxembourg made a call to this ISDN line and the PC started sending data. We used a 35 kbit/s stream for transporting the digitized video and audio data to the web server.
In 2002 a leased line of 128 kbit/s was offered by P & T Luxembourg again. The equipment was improved. The PC with grabber card is the same. A special leased line router was installed, connected to a hub, and to a device that allows to switch on and off each of the above devices. This is very helpful in case of software crashes or wrong behaviour of the machines. There are two streams that are sent to the streaming server, a 25 kbit/s stream for use with PDAs and one 35 kbit/s stream for standard computers. There is no audio transmitted this year.
In 2003 we used an ADSL connection with 192 kbit upload speed, that allowed to generate two streams, one with 24 and another with 64 kbit/s.
No online cam in 2004.
There is an ADSL connection again in 2005. We use a PC with an external USB video grabber. The digitized output is led to the P & T streaming server in Luxembourg City.
For 2002 the nest box is equipped with two low-budget black and white cameras with integrated infrared LEDs. There are some other LEDs around the box to give a smoother lighting. Actually the 2 cameras are toggled by an electronic circuitry in regular periods of some minutes.
The infrared light barrier in the entrance of the box is connected to a big red LED in our living room above the TV set. It goes on every time something (an owl...) is between the light barrier, so we can switch easily from any real TV programme to the "next box channel".
A series of snapshots taken via the internet. This is exactly the image quality than anybody on the web could watch.
You'll find there too 3 video clips showing the fixing of the rings for registration purposes.
Since march 2002, the owl parents have often visited the nestbox. Many thanks to P & T Luxembourg; they installed a transmission line again, even using a higher bandwidth. The stream was online from may till october.
Transmission was online from mid April till end of August. 7 strong young owls have quit definitely their place of birth, to look for their own hunting grounds.
The first egg has been seen on May 7th 2002. There were 4 young owls this year, the last one left the nestbox at about the end of August.
They are breeding again. A first egg was found on April 1st. Online again since May 5th. First breeding gave 6 young owls. Second breeding started mid-July; 6 eggs on July 30th.
Nest abandoned 2 weeks later!
No breeding that year. One single owl has been seen sometimes in the nestbox. Later on a neighbour found a dead owl in a kind of pipe in his farm. That should be the missing owl.
One owl often came in during winter. In February it came several times a day, and often with a new partner (always the same i suppose...)!
They started breeding, they got 8 eggs, 6 young owls grew up. They got a marking ring around a leg on June 25th. They all flew away. Camera was online from June 10th to August 10th.