Friday, February 29, 2008
Owl box finished
The weather was ideal for hanging owl boxes this week. Visibility in the woods is still good -- the gooseberries are just leafing out, but the poison oak thickets are still dormant. Plus, the air is delicately scented with bay flowers.
Maybe it's a little late to hang owl boxes, but it feels good to have finally finished the project. One has a 2.5" hole (to favor saw whet owls), and the other has a 3" hole (for screechers). The latter can accomodate a camera module.
It was easy enough to cut and assemble the owl boxes. I had all materials on hand. (I'm cheap and used recycled redwood and hardware).
The only expense was the galvanized flashing needed for squirrel proofing. You have to cut and apply the flashing, but that's not a problem when your neighbor's mantra is "The guy who dies with the most tools wins". Richard has a sheet metal break and an pneumatic stapler, and that made the job easier.
Covering sacred redwood with flashing seems like a crime, but it's bearable if it defeats homesteading by 'wathcally sqouyals'.
Of course, the flashing makes your box look as ugly as a hemorrhoid. It glares like a beacon in the afternoon sun. And who knows -- maybe it reflects wave lengths that attract bees looking for prospective hives. So you have to paint the metal (and treat it with vinegar so the paint sticks).
And then there are the finishing touches, like the internal owl ladder or perch (see below), drainage holes, and a layer of clean sawdust or wood shavings.
I settled for a small grove of Douglas firs for the screech owl box and pruned a clear flight path to the box. It's about 25 feet up on the NW side.
The branches make it easy to climb up to the box, but I'm thinking I should take the chain saw and cut them off this weekend. A bear could climb the tree with or without branches, but why make it easy?