It’s worth recording the installation of a new owl box in the hayshed at the back of the yard. I built the box in September, but it has taken a few weeks to assemble the parts and the expertise to install it at the top of a twelve foot wall of cinderblocks. With a good deal of swearing and fury, we finally drove home the final screw and the deed was completed on Friday.
We have seen barn owls quite frequently throughout the year so far, and they have become commonplace during lamping trips under the moon. We are surrounded by some fantastic foraging habitat for owls, and the hayshed was already being used by roosting birds during the day – a fact confirmed by our recent discovery that one or two of my bales are now adorned with a white crust of owl crap. This shed had been empty for two years before we moved in and had been little more than a shell during that time. The door finally blew off altogether, and it would have made a barren, drafty home for passing owls. Since we stacked the hay in the shed, there are now all kinds of recesses and corners where birds can get out of the wind, so it’s no wonder that they are responding with enthusiasm.
I have used trail cameras to photograph the owls which use my boxes on the hill, but this owl box is a good deal more accessible than its predecessors. If the owls decide to use it, there will be breeding birds within twenty five yards of my office. This opens up all kinds of possibilities for filming and recording their behaviour, and I would love to hook up cameras to get a closer look at their to-ing and fro-ing. Something to work towards in 2018.