A BARN owl chick in my garden became an internet sensation after her secret life was filmed by cameras hidden inside her nest and streamed live on my YouTube channel.

From the moment Solo hatched, in May, she attracted attention online. The only chick to emerge from a clutch of three eggs, her lonely life seemed to resonate with the isolation of lockdown.

People were mesmerised from the owl chick first unfolded from her cracking eggshell, all beak and tiny talons.

And they seemed impressed at how the parent owls doted on their sole, precious chick.

The female was particularly attentive. She had a very unusual way of feeding her chick and would tuck Solo into the warmth of her breast, facing forward, as she placed tiny morsels into her tiny gaping beak.

As we slowly emerged from lockdown and I laid on free appointment slots to visit my gallery in Thixendale, many made the trip here to see Solo on the live cameras.

Then, when this barn owlet was just four weeks old, her loneliness intensified. Her parents moved out to a new box where they began trying for a second brood.

And poor Solo was left alone, save for a few visits a day when they delivered food.

Then things took an unusual turn. The female owl returned to the box where Solo was and began to prepare for her new clutch of eggs.

As she dug a shallow scrape into the floor of the nest and settled down to lay, Solo sat beside her. When the female stood up to show off her perfect white egg, Solo stared down at it intently.

And there followed the most incredible thing I have ever witnessed in a barn owl nest: Solo, just eight-weeks-old and still covered in downy feathers, started to incubate the egg.

As she sat, she mimicked her mother’s tendency to carefully shred and rearrange the nest floor. I wondered if her behaviour was driven by maternal instinct.

Whatever the motive, Solo was determined and the adult owl had to gently push her chick off her egg to resume control.

Two more eggs were laid at three-day intervals and all the while this first-brood chick sat alongside its mother.

At 12 weeks, when most owlets are beginning to fend for themselves, Solo was still intent on brooding the eggs.

She would wedge herself between the wall of the nest and her sitting mother, then make a show of preening the feathers on her mother’s back, whilst surreptitiously trying to budge her off the eggs.

Despite this gentle tug of war, the adult female remained tolerant. She even allowed her eldest chick up close to listen to the sound of the chicks chipping through the eggs.

The male, however, was less than happy about the arrangement and after the first chick hatched he chased Solo to the back of the nest.

One day, however, Solo overstepped the mark and picked up a tiny chick by its wing. She was ousted from the nest after this, but continued to hang about outside.

Then tragedy struck. Following three solid days of torrential rain, when it was impossible for the owls to hunt, the family were going hungry.

The male brought in a much-needed meal and as the female fed the chicks, Solo burst in and snatched the food right out of her mother’s beak, swallowing it down in one.

Still ravenous, she looked round at the clutch of tiny, squirming, owl chicks. Instantly, her predatory instincts kicked in and she snatched the largest owl chick and flew out of the nest with it.

It was just at this time that I had developed a way of streaming the action from this nest box live onto YouTube.

As I watched Solo emerge from the nest, her helpless sibling dangling from her beak, thousands of viewers from around the world were also watching.

When times are hard it is perfectly normal for an older barn owl chick to prey on its younger siblings. Thankfully the viewers on my YouTube Channel seemed to understand this.

Subscriptions to the live owl nest camera soared and within a week I had more than 60,000 people from as far afield as Canada and Bahrain tuning in every day to find out what would happen next.

It won’t be long before Solo has learned to hunt for herself and begins to think about dispersing and I can’t wait to see how the story will end.

Robert streams his barn owl camera live on his YouTube channel, Robert E Fuller, and also onto screens in his gallery in Thixendale, North Yorkshire. Visit robertefuller.com to book a free visit.