Hello Equil ,
You remarked that you would like to see a thread started on this so I will provide what I can . I will start by posting links to an organization here in Cave Creek , Arizona who I got a lot of my information from . They did provide me with written instructions on how to build/design structure and when I figure out how to get that from paper to onto to the computer I will post those instruction sheets . I am far more comfortable with construction type tools/skills than I am with office/computer skills . So bear with me and over the weekend I will try to get those instruction sheets up . For now here are some links to the group called Wild At Heart , they have been helpful with thier knowledge/expierience ;
Sometimes I don't get around to looking at new threads in a forum. I about had a heart attack when I saw you were able to start a new thread outlining the process from start to finish and that I hadn't even caught it was out there. I think this is going to be a really great thread for anyone who wants to do something but doesn't quite know how to go about starting. People like you and me jump in feet first but others get hung up in the planning phase because they're afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes happen, there's simply no avoiding them but we can learn from others who have gone there before us and minimize the damage so to speak. It's always nice to watch a blow by blow account of how a real person tackled a real project.
I think that it has taken this time , this is page one of eighteen from a set of instructions on building burrowing owl habitat . There are some things in the instructions that are not accurate I feel such as on page one whereas it may be true that the owls prefer open land , it is not exclusive to thier choice .
If you only knew the trouble I have with dealing with computers . However I do realize that communication is key to people gathering information so I will deal with this pain in the butt chore .
Now my lady my turn to ask info of you , I would desire to know birds ( preferably in my area , southwest of Phoenix ) feeding preferences , diet what have you . Could/would you have access to such information ? Would you mind starting a thread on that ? Also I noticed elsewhere on this forum where you had posted on trapping English Sparrows , have you formed any new insights into this matter ? Preferences as to traps and disposal of the little critters ? I would appreciate any thoughts on the preceding , I will thank you in advance .
Quoting: If you only knew the trouble I have with dealing with computers . However I do realize that communication is key to people gathering information so I will deal with this pain in the butt chore .
Yes. loading photos is time consuming and my love of computers is right up there with yours but someday somebody is going to do a search and they're going to end up smack dab here!
OK, so you want to know what plants to select to attract birds that are native to your county based on their diets. I think that might be a question for Audubon but we can do a search. I don't have any books on birds of the Southwest but that can be worked around. I do have a book on American Wildlife and Plants: A Guide to Wildlife Food Habits and I've been using it a lot lately. Cornell has a really great site too.
English sparrows are cavity nesters not burrow nesters so your owl babies should be ok. I did notice you had a bumper crop of HOSPs around Phoenix. I thought we had it bad. I think some of the roof styles out your way might be part of the problem. I saw a tremendous number of tile roofs that were ready made HOSP havens. Thousands of cavities they could nest in per roof. Anyway, I do have preferences over traps these days after having used a few different styles. This particular discussion would need to be moved over to the Invasive Speces Forum. There is a member out there named stelco, please send him a pm. He will help you. Exchange phone numbers and he'll walk you through it.
So now you need to start not one but two new threads! One in Invasives for your HOSP issues and one here to get lists going of plants based on diets of birds native to your region.
I remember my grandmother trapping sparrows her life long . She was a somewhat well known orintholigist in her time , quite a record setter and proud of it . The first woman to band the great horned owl , the first woman to band the ... you get the idea . The first woman president of one or more of various Audobon societies back in the 50's . She is not around for me to seek these answers anymore and I am not much of a joiner of orginizations . Usually too much politiking going on for my taste . I will try the forums you suggest .
I like that the text includes photos. Most people learn better when there is a visual. Those photos are a labor of love, that's for sure. I thought I was bad drilling holes into blocks of wood for mason bees but you blew me out of the water.
Well guess what folks just to tell you that all the above hard work can pay off , I discovered this evening that I now have three baby burrowing owl chicks in residence with hopes of another pair of parents hopefully having more . I had four from a single pair last year so the project is working .
Well Equil , I never did get around to getting pics of the babies but I do have a neat small tale to tell .
I consistently have a problem with ground squirels around here and have taken to trapping them on ocassion to keep thier numbers under control . Normally the burrowing owls do not hunt these but they are not adverse to a few free snacks . Well one night getting home from work , I checked the traps and found that I had some owl dinners . So I walked out to thier burrows and usually would drop the dinners by some of the entrance holes .
This time though to my surprise ( It was after dark ) there was three little balls of fluff grouped right by one of the entrances . Apparently all the adults were away foraging and the chicks in thier innocence let me come right up to them . I played my flashlight on them , admiring them . I was so close that I could have touched them or picked them up . I resisted wanting to do that not wanting to put human scent on them . But they were so goll dang cute . I must have stayed there 5 to 10 minutes with them looking up at me , asking WHOOO are you , what are you . I left and hurried back to the house to get the wife so she could experience this but on going back a second time . At least one of the adults had returned and on our aproach sounded an alarm call . At which the chicks promptly obeyed and went down into the burrow .
Probably not too likely to have this happen again , one of those rare moments . But it is moments like that , that make the efforts worth it .
I saw that #9 and figured there was a bug on the outer casing of the video cam. By that time, they had to be accustomed to the video cam being there so why else would the little chick have come in that close to peck at it? Somebody stated they piled up manure in and around there humble abodes to be able to "farm" bugs so it made sense to me.
All in all, #2 was hysterical with the way his head swiveled around in its socket and then there was the other one in the background standing up to the right like a meerkat getting a peek which made it funnier.
Any interest in watching me build another burrowing owl habitat ? It is a pain to produce photos, post etc . , so if there is no interest I won't bother . Speak up if you want to see one under construction . anticipate starting in another week or two .