Hidden camera beams live owl images to visitor centre

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12 MAY 2010NEWS RELEASE No: 13571

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Forestry Commission Wales has set up its own version of "Sky television" at its popular visitor centre in Bwlch Nant-yr-Arian, near Aberystwyth.

Visitors can now watch live pictures of two barn owls on a TV screen in the centre after the Commission placed a miniature camera in a nest box in the surrounding forest where the birds have laid three eggs.

The hidden camera beams back infra-red images to the centre of the mother owl incubating the eggs while the father attends to her feeding needs, bringing back animals such as voles and mice to keep her strength up.

This is the first time the camera, which was installed last year, has recorded eggs being laid and visitors to the centre will be able to watch the baby owlets' progress from the time they take their first breaths until they leave the nest.

With its heart-shaped face, buff back and wings and pure white under parts, the nocturnal barn owl is a distinctive and much-loved countryside bird.

Bwlch Nant-yr-Arian is a well-known destination for bird lovers who come from far and wide to see the daily feedings of the red kites, which have returned from the brink of extinction with the help of conservation efforts by Forestry Commission Wales, the Welsh Kite Trust and the RSPB.

Forestry Commission Wales will be holding a number of free wildlife events such as pond dipping and bug hunts in conjunction with this year's BBC Springwatch campaign during the first week in June.

For more information on events at Bwlch Nant-yr-Arian, contact Visitor Centre Recreation Ranger Tom Roberts on 01970 890453.

For more information on the work of Forestry Commission Wales, visit

Media enquiries to Forestry Commission Wales Information Officer Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922.