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Southwest Gardening: Building A Bird Nest Desert Style - Part Two

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BennysPlace
Beverly Hills, CA

January 27, 2008
2:37 AM

Post #4458777

Hello Everyone,

On behalf of lonediver, I am proud to present to you more images of his very amazing burrowing owl nesting habitat. This is a continuation of his original post which can be found here: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/803956/

That one got a bit long so I thought I would start afresh.

Lonediver asked if I could come down and help out today. Well I didn't get there in time to help so I was official photographer.

If ever you want an interesting, exciting day out, I recommend going to check the whole thing out for yourself. LD has done an amazing job and he is very generous with his knowledge of not only the owl but of all the various trees, shrubs and grasses he has growing to encourage wildlife. I can tell you this is going to be a wildlife paradise when he is done.

On a personal note, LD, I think what you are doing is amazing. Hanging out with you today gave me an even deeper appreciation of what one person can do to give native wildlife somewhere to live and thrive as their original habitat slowly disappears. Already, despite how new all of the planting is (there are SO many trees!) there are a lot of birds calling this garden home. I can't wait to see the creek!

Without further ado, here are the images I took for LD today. Thanks again for a great day! This first image was created for my benefit. Smiles. Though it was finished just today, there were a lot of prospective tenants checking out the place.

Thumbnail by BennysPlace
Click the image for an enlarged view.

BennysPlace
Beverly Hills, CA

January 27, 2008
2:38 AM

Post #4458783

Hmmm, Looks like a nice place to call home. There is a hot tub near by (a bird bath LD sets out during the day) and I like the mound in the center! A great place to keep watch.

Thumbnail by BennysPlace
Click the image for an enlarged view.

BennysPlace
Beverly Hills, CA

January 27, 2008
2:39 AM

Post #4458793

A close up of one of the owls. Photographing them is a challenge to say the least. I didn't have my telephoto lens so I used my wide angle. Here is the drill for getting close enough. One person goes ahead. If two go, they spook quicker. You move a few foot, stop, wait, move forward again and snap as you go. This is the closest I got all day.

Thumbnail by BennysPlace
Click the image for an enlarged view.

BennysPlace
Beverly Hills, CA

January 27, 2008
2:41 AM

Post #4458801

This is how I saw the owls much of the day. From what I believe, the males are the ones that stay outside the nest. There were times when we would see two heads. If we got too close, one would disappear and the other would stay outside for just so long. When we got too close to the male, he would take off trying to get us away from the nest.

Thumbnail by BennysPlace
Click the image for an enlarged view.

BennysPlace
Beverly Hills, CA

January 27, 2008
2:42 AM

Post #4458806

When they land, they do a bobbing up and down and stand at attention. It is the coolest thing to watch! According to LD, sometimes a group of them will do it. That would be a site.

Thumbnail by BennysPlace
Click the image for an enlarged view.

BennysPlace
Beverly Hills, CA

January 27, 2008
2:43 AM

Post #4458807

In flight again. Beautiful!

Thumbnail by BennysPlace
Click the image for an enlarged view.

BennysPlace
Beverly Hills, CA

January 27, 2008
2:43 AM

Post #4458808

Coming in for a landing.

Thumbnail by BennysPlace
Click the image for an enlarged view.

BennysPlace
Beverly Hills, CA

January 27, 2008
2:44 AM

Post #4458814

Here is one standing on the edge of one of the older structures seconds before disappearing inside.

Thumbnail by BennysPlace
Click the image for an enlarged view.

BennysPlace
Beverly Hills, CA

January 27, 2008
2:46 AM

Post #4458817

Now THIS is going to be cool! Here is LD showing me the caps for the tubes in the center of the structure. He is going to put infared cameras down those tubes. The tubes dead end into buckets (can be seen in previous post). This is where the nests will be. I for one can not wait to see THOSE images.

Thumbnail by BennysPlace
Click the image for an enlarged view.

BennysPlace
Beverly Hills, CA

January 27, 2008
2:48 AM

Post #4458830

And here is the complete structure in all its glory. Great job LD. Thank you again for a great day and for all your hard work to benefit this beautiful species of owl.

This ends our National Geographic segment for the time being.

On behalf of LD and myself, I hope you enjoyed the images.

All the best and let's all pray for rain on the morrow! I have my buckets ready!

Thumbnail by BennysPlace
Click the image for an enlarged view.

jimdaz
Phoenix, AZ

January 27, 2008
3:08 AM

Post #4458905

Thank you Benny for the photos and narrative. What a great thing LD is doing. Awesome!
BennysPlace
Beverly Hills, CA

January 27, 2008
3:13 AM

Post #4458925

Hi Jim,

No problem. It is an honour to submit this post on LD's behalf. He will be reading this so I won't embarrass him to much but he is a remarkable man. He is 100% dedicated to turning his bit of land into a wildlife paradise. It is indeed very awesome!
mrsj
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9a)

January 27, 2008
3:16 AM

Post #4458934

Wow Ben! Thanks for all the great photo's and narrative...amazing work LD!
rayman6422
Tucson, AZ

January 27, 2008
3:20 AM

Post #4458962

Hot dang Ben. That is so cool and what a way to spend a day.
How much is rent? I think I want to move in but I'll need a bigger tube to squeeze down into. More like a big o'l storm drain for me.
LD is an inspiration. I think I need to rethink what I have going on in the backyard.

I think for now I'll expand my native bee condo.

This message was edited Jan 26, 2008 8:23 PM
azrobin
Scottsdale, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 27, 2008
3:22 AM

Post #4458969

What a set up! Thanks for the photos Ben and LD, I can't wait for the wonderful photos you capture.
BennysPlace
Beverly Hills, CA

January 27, 2008
3:27 AM

Post #4458990

Cheers Audrey! It was a lot of fun being out there today. Thank you to LD for the invite.

Hey Ray! It was an awesome day out mate I'm tellin' ya. LD is a HUGE inspiration. The amount of work and effort involved in not only THIS project but the planting of both live and dead trees is extraordinary. I will be making another post on his behalf of how he "plants" saguaro skelletons. Interesting stuff I'm telling ya! To me, this is the epitome of what should be happening in a dedicated area of a low desert garden. He has me rethinking too.

Oh, and as far as rent, I'm with ya! Those owls have it good. But, like you, I would need a much bigger pipe.
Desertdenial5
Tolleson, AZ
(Zone 9a)

January 27, 2008
4:30 AM

Post #4459173

Ben you take wonderful photos!!! I so love what LD is doing. I think I need more land now!! I so wish I could go spend the day visiting and learning from him.
Equilibrium

January 27, 2008
4:55 AM

Post #4459252

Awesome, simply awesome!
lonediver
Maricopa, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 27, 2008
5:04 AM

Post #4459287

Hmmm,

That was quick Ben , I thought you said you would get them up monday . Thanks for getting them up . I have always found myself technologically challenged when it comes to electronic gadgets . It was fun having you here , the place is still a little rough around the edges and very young yet but it is alive and thriving somewhat . It is still winter and a lot is down at the moment .

Marie , come sometime in March or early April I will try to have a day on a weekend where a group can come down . Looking at events coming I see I will have to avoid plant sale days . Phoenix and Tucson .
Oh Marie , when they put that freeway through your house you should have the money to buy one of the parcels around me . Out of the 5 parcels that touch on mine , 4 are still vacant . All approximately 4 acres each . The one nuisance here is having to haul your water . It is nice and quiet though .

Ben , that one desert willow is yours , I will be glad to give you a planting container , loan you tools , get you some dirt . But bring your own mulch/compost , transplanting solution . Those are always in short supply around here .

If there might be any others interested in some desert willows I have about 25 to 30 " volunteers " around here growing where I do not want them . If you would like some come and get them because I will be cutting them down otherwise .
BennysPlace
Beverly Hills, CA

January 27, 2008
5:11 AM

Post #4459299

Marie, thank you for the compliment on my photos. They are not nearly as sharp as I would like. One day when I get my $2000 telephoto (paparazzi style lens), I will get some AMAZING shots as I can be several feet away and yet get in very close.

Hey lonediver, I couldn't help but get to work right away. I was pleased with a few of the shots. I hope you are too. It was a real pleasure meeting you and taking the tour around all the nesting sites.

Cheers for the willow. I should probably get back up there before it comes out of dormancy though. I look forward to digging it out!
bsavage
Dolores, CO
(Zone 5b)

January 27, 2008
5:11 AM

Post #4459301

Very nice photo essay Ben, and as everyone else said, kudos to you LD! Those owls are beautiful.
BennysPlace
Beverly Hills, CA

January 27, 2008
5:14 AM

Post #4459311

Thanks Brenda. The owls are VERY beautiful and FUNNY as hell! When they do that bobbing up and down thing and make their noises, it's a sight! It is always so much fun to study an animal and learn about its personality. I would love to set up a screen near a hole so I could observe them without scaring them.
bsavage
Dolores, CO
(Zone 5b)

January 27, 2008
5:16 AM

Post #4459315

OT: Ben, unless you're taking low light shots, you can have a really good Nikkor telephoto lens (70 - 300, with VR) for about $600. The one that is a thousand dollars more is really only needed if your taking pics of Britney at night.

Back to our awe of LD's sanctuary!
dwr857
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9a)

January 27, 2008
6:45 AM

Post #4459524

Wow, I can't think of anything else to say that would justify the pics and the cause. Did I say WOW!
Aguane
Phoenix, AZ

January 27, 2008
6:55 AM

Post #4459544

Wow.
What everyone else said!!!
azreno
Mesa, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 27, 2008
8:48 AM

Post #4459615

Those pictures are just amazing Ben, thanks for taking and posting them!

You should be very proud LD, what a wonderful paradise you built and are continuing to. lol about the plant sales.
MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 27, 2008
2:32 PM

Post #4459965

Nice - what everyone else said. I'm a thinkin' we should do a wildflower tour at Picacho and stop by LD's place while we're down that way. March/April - just need to avoid 3/29.

LD, I'm planning a Tucson run Feb 8th, I may take you up on the desert willow adoption - and a tour of your place while there. I'll get in touch that week and see if we can work something out.
azrobin
Scottsdale, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 27, 2008
5:38 PM

Post #4460603

Amazing work, LD. And what wonderful photos and commentary, Ben! I look forward to following this thread!

Fish_knees

Fish_knees
Phoenix, AZ

January 27, 2008
5:43 PM

Post #4460616

Absolutely wonderful! The photography and the wildlife preserve ☺
Birdlady_Susie
Mesa, AZ

January 27, 2008
11:28 PM

Post #4461968

Great photos, great story, sounds like you had a wonderful day. I just admire what LD is doing so much! We will have to arrange that visit when it is a tad greener! I will be there, believe me!

Susie
Diane85205
Mesa, AZ

January 28, 2008
3:52 AM

Post #4463268

Thanks to both of you, LD for your hard work and Benny for taking the time to allow us to learn even more. I too need to look at my own teeny piece of land and how I can help the birds we have here.
lonediver
Maricopa, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 28, 2008
4:14 AM

Post #4463374

Thought that I would post a few pics of a natural nest . There is one owl here on my property that insists on doing it the old fashioned way , spurnning my work at providing housing . He set out on his own just 20 feet or so away from the others . Here in Arizona these birds will often times find an existing ground squirel hole/tunnel . They will take over this existing structure and double or more the diameter of the old . I have pictures here of both a ground squirel hole/entrance and one that has been taken over by an a burrowing owl . I placed a soda pop can adjacent to and in these entrances to give a sense of size/scale . First the ground squirels typical entrance .

Thumbnail by lonediver
Click the image for an enlarged view.

lonediver
Maricopa, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 28, 2008
4:18 AM

Post #4463390

Now putting the can in the entrance , it is just a little too big to go in the tunnel

Thumbnail by lonediver
Click the image for an enlarged view.

lonediver
Maricopa, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 28, 2008
4:21 AM

Post #4463401

Now the enlarged owl hole/entrance ,

Thumbnail by lonediver
Click the image for an enlarged view.

lonediver
Maricopa, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 28, 2008
4:32 AM

Post #4463439

Now you will see that the can can be stood vertically upright once placed in the hole/tunnel . This nest is rather new , neighboring nests that are around in the area are somewhat larger with much more mounding around the entrance . Sometimes various livestock manure that the birds have gathered will be observed arranged in a somewhat circular patern at a small distance away from the hole . This is done to attract dung beetles which will serve as food . So these birds can be farmers raising thier own food stock for consumption .

Thumbnail by lonediver
Click the image for an enlarged view.

MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 28, 2008
12:11 PM

Post #4464001

Interesting ld Thanks for sharing
azrobin
Scottsdale, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 29, 2008
2:06 AM

Post #4467201

I don't know about you all, but this is as interesting as last years owls!

Thanks LD!
BennysPlace
Beverly Hills, CA

January 29, 2008
2:18 AM

Post #4467290

Smiles... I think I remember that one Robin. Was that the story where someone had owls living in her house in Sierra Vista?

I just wanted to say thank you to those that complimented on the photography.

LD deserves the credit for creating such a wonderful thing to take photos of.

lonediver
Maricopa, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 29, 2008
2:31 AM

Post #4467404

Thank you Ben ,
I am sure you take better pics than I do . I could not have managed to catch the owls in flight . I will need to look into better cameras .

P.S. Check out the aeolian music thread , you should enjoy it .

Thanks to everyone else for thier compliments . If something of interest happens I will post more of developments such as when/if I acquire any new tenants .

March/April there should be babies to see , they are more comical than mom and dad .
jdo1217
El Mirage, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 29, 2008
2:57 AM

Post #4467580

Just fascinating!
Jane
lonediver
Maricopa, AZ
(Zone 9b)

February 10, 2008
7:49 PM

Post #4520291

I just had to share , several of the owls have been checkingout/investigating the new "digs " this last week . Hopefully by april there will be new little owls .
azrobin
Scottsdale, AZ
(Zone 9b)

February 10, 2008
7:51 PM

Post #4520300

I can't wait until you say, "Film at 10". lol
Aguane
Phoenix, AZ

February 10, 2008
9:24 PM

Post #4520667

This is going to be very cool. lonediver will be an owl daddy!
I'm imagining strapping a camera helmet on an owl head and sending it into the nest so we can have live pictures of the birthing! ... or hatching or whatever they do.

Glad to see you're up and running, again, lonediver! Bet you got lots of work done around your place!
lonediver
Maricopa, AZ
(Zone 9b)

February 28, 2008
12:52 AM

Post #4598240

For any that might be interested , I am posting an eighteen page set of instructions that I got from Wild at Heart on how to go about building burrowing owl habitat . Descriptions ranging from single to 16 cluster units and parts lists of materials needed . So far I have built two seperate 8 cluster units with plans for building a third maybe next year .

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/806679/
azrobin
Scottsdale, AZ
(Zone 9b)

February 28, 2008
1:01 AM

Post #4598281

Have you submitted your experiment to any of the State or National Wildlife websites, LD? You should!

lonediver
Maricopa, AZ
(Zone 9b)

February 28, 2008
1:20 AM

Post #4598355

Not that much of an experiment really , I got some advice and this set of instructions from Wild At Heart . Adapted them to a little more of my liking and circumstances . On page one they describe the type of habitat or land surroundings that the owls like but in my own expieriences/observations I knew that thier ( Wild At Heart ) was not 100 % true . I had some discussion with one of the founders at a later time and brought this up . His reply was " I guess that the owls did not read the materials " .

We both laughed , in any case my take on the world is do you know what an expert is ?

Some one who has maybe a LITTLE more expierience than you at something !

Nuff said .

I remember years ago being interviewed about some other subjects/things by different writers and they never get it all right even after interviewing in person . They often expand on what the interview says at an attempt I supopose to make a story " more " interesting . And then they will ignore finer details . I got somewhat discouraged by/at writers .

If you know of some place that would publish what I would write myself , I might attempt it .
bsavage
Dolores, CO
(Zone 5b)

February 28, 2008
3:38 AM

Post #4598989

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