Monday, January 14, 2008
My task today was to move the screech owl box. The stimulus was Owlman's recent post at The Owl Box Blog.
My owl box has been in the same place for two years. If two years pass and an owl doesn't stake its claim the owl pundits advise you to move the box to a new location. A squirrel staked its claim the first year and installed a grass nest with an arched roof.
When we passed the box this morning I threw a rock at it...bonk!
"See? No owl! If there was a screech owl inside, it would be looking out and wondering what the hell is going on." The redhead remained silent, which means she accepted the wisdom of my statement or wasn't listening.
After lunch I climbed the ladder, removed the 2 bunji cords, and clasping the box to my chest started to climb down the ladder. Halfway down I paused to pluck a few gray squirrel hairs from the gnawed entrance.
Yes, I pondered, it was a squirrel, and now it's eviction time.
Noticing that the grass nest was gone, I stuck my nose in the hole and sniffed . . . . the box gave off a sweet fetid odor. Now that's disgusting, I thought. This damn squirrel must be deranged to crap in its nest.
I tipped the box toward the sunlight and looked in the hole . . . and . . . GREAT BALLS OF FIRE!
There was a screech owl inside! It was leaning sideways with one half-opened eye and half-raised ear tufts. It looked like Britney Spears on a bad hair day after a weeklong boogie fest. Of course, the smell wasn't squirrel doodoo. It was the unmistakable stench of an owl's sour barf balls.
"Oh my God. This is an emergency!" I had to get that box back in the tree pronto, and for that I needed the redhead's assistance, immediately.
I stuffed my jacket in the hole, and fetched the redhead, who was about to go to our daughter's house.
"This is an emergency." I pleaded. "If the Fish and Wildife Service finds out I molested the owl, I could go to jail!" The redhead joined me.
We got the box back up, and an hour later I set up a camera trap. It was a rough day.
I hope this owl can forgive and forget.