Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Has the Superintendent Gone KooKoo?

If you have seen the all of the bird houses on the course, you may certainly think I have gone Koo Koo. I have mentioned the bluebird houses already and now we have two larger boxes on the course. The largest box is for the American Barn Owl and the other is for North America's smallest hawk, the Kestrel. We have placed 8 American Barn Owl boxes on the course and another 6 kestrel boxes on the course.

Foreground: Kestrel box
Background: Barn Owl box

Close up of Barn Owl box

Both the Barn Owls and Kestrels are to help with our small rodent population. Particularly the moles, voles, gophers, and field mice. Last year was a year like no other for those particular rodents and I am doing everything I can to help control them this year. This 'organic' method of control has gained popularity in the wine country to help protect the vineyards from these harmful critters. For them it makes money on both sides of the budget; it is a cheap effective way of controlling pests and helps make them organic which attracts a lot of revenue.

We should start to see the Barn Owls to move into their boxes in the next month. The question has been asked by many, "how will they know to come?". One member suggested a mass email and after a good laugh I explained to them what Lee Pauser had told me. The birds are always looking for a cavity. That cavity could be in an old tree or it could be something artificial like our boxes. The cavity provides protection from other predators. Will there be 100% occupancy; I doubt it, but over time maybe we will gain a reputation of being a bird retreat.