Thursday, April 22, 2010
Why I'm optimistic that Carlos will install a perch for the babies to fledge to...
Clearly, there is NOTHING for the owlets to jump to. There needs to be a substantial branch within 3 feet of the door of the perch, at the same HEIGHT of the door of the box. This is not the case, yet. Yes, I'm concerned, but I do think Carlos is honestly trying to learn, and that he is becoming educated as he goes along.
It's not Carlos' fault that the box is not installed correctly. He hired a "professional" who should have had the sense to put the box 1) in a tree or at least within the shade of a tree, and 2) in a position such that there are multiple branches parallel to the box's door, for the owls to fly to.
Since Carlos intends to install boxes all over the county in parks and nature areas, he is very interested in learning the right ways to do these things. He just hasn't had the right people involved with putting the box up.
There are people who go into business doing owl boxes as a method of rodent control, who don't know what they're doing, or don't care. I know nothing about the details of how this box got where it got, other than that he did hire a local professional.
But since then, he's been seeking to learn more, so I am very optimistic that he will install some kind of branch, about 3 feet in front of the door, at the same height as the door, very soon. The babies won't fledge until May 14 at the earliest (now watch, I'll be "wrong" and people will say I don't know what I'm doing. haha. Ok so I'll say that in most cases, that would be the target date, but that these guys might fledge early. How's that? lol).
He did say he's been going to parks and looking at other situations. He could go to any raptor center and see the way they put in these perches.
Here's how: They put up a long 2x4 for the owls to land on, wrapped with astroturf (the 2x4, not the owls). They secure the astroturf so it doesn't slide around. This gives the owls a way to grip onto the perch.
He'd have to construct something to hold the perch up and brace it, but I'm sure there are lots of people who know how to do this kind of thing.
He could make a call to skyhunters and ask them to consult, for example. Skyhunters is involved with building flight cages for eagles, even, and with putting caps on live electrical wires all over San Diego, to prevent birds from being electrocuted. I'm sure they could refer him to the right people who'd be very happy to build a proper fledging setup around his box - without even disturbing the owls.
Carlos is good at learning new businesses and skills - if you've looked at his other webpages, he's got amazing photography of butterflies, flowers, cityscapes like towns in England and all over America, he's learned the real estate investment business and has written a book about how to become a millioinaire through real estate, he's a landlord of god knows how many properties, he was in the navy - in other words he's a very well rounded guy who has learned a huge variety of skills, so he can easily learn about owl habitats.
And a proper barn owl habitat includes somewhere to fledge!
This is why I'm optimistic.
We can see from the picture that, right now, there is no adequate place to fly to. The box stands alone far above any trees, and even the trees that are there do not have adequate perching areas.
He will figure all this out. If anyone can figure it out, he can! Everyone has to go through a learning curve in every new area of life. It's normal, and it keeps a person young to keep learning new things. I don't criticize people for not automatically knowing about every possible subject on this earth - it's not possible to do so.
I applaud those who undertake new projects and are open to learning, and who open themselves up to experts and ask questions, who are willing to continue to learn and adapt and grow.
This is one of those situations, and I think Carlos is very serious about learning everything he can about this. So....he will install proper perches, I'm sure, in time for the babies to fledge.
I'm sure he does not want this very public journey to end in disaster, especially with so many schoolchildren inovlved.
I remember a case in which schoolchildren were very involved in watching the rehabilitation of a baby seal who had been found starving on the beach. He was nursed back to health and the kids followed his progress every step of the way.
Finally the big day came for the release of the seal. Some classes actually went out to watch, while others were able to see the action on some kind of closed circuit TV setup. The seal was released with great fanfare. Less than a minute later, a killer whale rose up and ate the seal. What a disaster! Horrors! Those poor kids!
I'm sure Carlos is not going to let something like that happen. He cares about this little owl family just like we all do. One can't help but fall in love with these little characters, and with the beautiful Molly and McGee!
PS: I'm not writing this so that people will become frantic! I'm writing this because I think that, even though the box is not properly installed at the moment, I think it will be remedied well in time for the fledging. So, please refrain from hysteria. I personally doubt that people are that hysterical, but I keep being told that they are and that I should only say happy happy things. I think this IS a happy thing - these owls have so many people who care about their welfare that they can't help but be well accomodated and cared for! So be happy. NOW!...SMILE! or else! ;-)