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Barn owls preparing to leave the nest

Five owlets fledging is a great success story for barn owls. Credit: Dorset Wildlife Trust

Dorset Wildlife Trust’s webcam has recorded a large number of barn owl chicks ready to fledge from the nest box located at the Lorton Meadows nature reserve in Weymouth.

The webcam, which can be watched here, has been entertaining viewers all over the UK since April, when eight eggs were laid; a surprisingly large clutch for barn owls.

Viewers have been monitoring the progress of the chicks since, with five owlets now getting ready to leave the barn owl box.

Five owlets fledging is a great success story for barn owls, as their numbers have been in decline nationally, with 2013 seeing the worst breeding season in 30 years.

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Soots you sir! Help for owl stuck in chimney

Secret World Animal Rescue based at East Huntspill in Somerset have taken in a barn owl that was rescued from a chimney.

It is clearly in good hands but we hope this doesn't happen very often.

  1. John Andrews

Rat poisons are killing Barn Owls

The Barn Owl Trust has started a national campaign to control rat poisons, which are killing birds leading to a serious decline in their numbers. The owls are eating mice and voles which have been contaminated, which in turn leads to a slow and painful death for the birds too.

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VIDEO: Owl makes friends with a mop

They make an unlikely pairing but staff at the Screech Owl Sanctuary in Newquay have found that one of their young charges is fascinated by their kitchen mop.

Lightning, a Eastern Siberian Eagle Owl, is only three months old so still has its baby feathers. It does make it look somewhat mop-like.

Every time workers get the mop out, Lightning hops out of its cage and follows it around - clearly more a hindrance than a help to the cleaning process.

Here's a chance to see the "best friends" in action.