Saturday, May 1, 2010

I have not been banned, + posting a comment from a reader

Rumors of my having been banned, are, at this point in time, totally FALSE. I was on the chat earlier this morning and enjoyed chatting with everyone. Sometimes I end up in overflow, which is also fine. I'm not picky!

Calls for Nancy and me to get involved are appreciated but what are we to do? Nancy is totally inundated with...drum roll....injured baby barn owls...and other spring babies, as are most wildlife people. I am trying to get another book written and also go out on the road..and trying to get the truth about my beloved barn owls out there for the rest of the community to have the knowledge and passion that can ultimately help barn owls.

It's true that unscrupulous people make a living putting up bogus owl boxes, charging people a lot of money for them, and that there is no law, currently, against that. What I hope is that with all the publicity Carlos has helped to give to barn owls both through his awesome views of these owls w/ the better cameras and quality photography, but also through his own experience of having innocently hired an unscrupulous "owl box professional", he is giving everyone a "birds eye view" into the bigger problem of what has been going on in San Diego and other areas for decades. This is the duping of innocent nature lovers who truly want to give a home to owls and enjoy the years of successful raising of babies in a backyard habitat, with the outcome instead being tragedy.

The promise of these "professional owl box people" is "Guaranteed rodent control". But these boxes have been put up in places where there is no hunting grounds such as places like Leisure World, and of course, with no thought to fledging issues or the hot sun. If barn owls do nest there, yes, they will frantically hunt all night for rodents to FEED THEIR BABIES, but the babies will die when they fledge. The owls will keep trying over and over again, yes, controlling rodents by feeding each new clutch of babies, only to have the babies fall to the ground to be eaten by dogs or other predators or die slowly, OR to be rescued and taken to wildlife centers.

I want to emphasize that Carlos is on this road of discovery and is learning all this in real time and it's a lot to take in! I MUST credit him with being possibly the ONLY person I know of who has actually tried to do something about it!!!!

I saw the platform he put up and I must applaud it! It sure beats the heck out of what wasn't there before! And the two ladders might also be possible branching spots, especially if he were to cover one of those slanted ladder 'legs' with astroturf or something the babies could hook their claws into without getting them stuck. Indoor outdoor carpet?

If he were to call Nancy at Skyhunters, I think she'd be happy to help. These people are not hostile to Carlos, they are mad at the people who take advantage of good people like Carlos!

Do you think Carlos intended to have a problematic owl box and then put that out on the ustream for everyone to watch? NO! He did that in all innocence. He wanted to provide genuine habitat for owls and for his grandchildren to be able to enjoy the experience of watching their growth and success.

So I applaud his efforts to give the babies a chance to 'branch' before they 'fledge' This is a UK term, I think, and it's better than trying to describe all the stages of learning to fly as "fledging" as if it were a one time event (the way it is for some birds)..

With that said, I am putting up one of the comments from a reader of the blog. It's true the UK is WAAAAY ahead of us in terms of regulating owl boxes. America is still the "wild west" in so many ways. That's good in one sense - anyone can start up almost any kind of company. But it can be a bad thing when people jump on the "green" or "habitat" or "conservation" bandwagon with disingenuous intent (and I'm NOT talking about Carlos, who I think has good intentions for these owls).

I applaud Carlos for putting up the plaltform for the owls to fledge to, and think that if the ladders were less slippery, they would be part of a good system, too.

I still think Carlos may be well positioned to be THE guy to do the research and come up with a truly useful barn owl box that serves the owls, and to have those installed nationwide rather than these horrible death traps that are being pushed upon the unknowing but trusting public. I hope Carlos will do this and perhaps advocate for a system such as the british owl box system.

There do need to be laws about this. The problem is that wildlife people are not political, usually. They are so inundated w/ the work of saving those they can save. And academics truly want nothing to do w/ "the public", myself being an exception to the rule. I hate the ivory tower mentality.

So....it's up to people like you, dear readers, and Carlos, and all those who've paid good money for a death trap, to unite and make a difference in how this is done nationwide or at least locally.

This is how we grow as a people. We discover that something we're doing isn't so great. Remember, we used to have slavery, child labor, no vote for women....all of those things are now gone because we have slowly realized as a people that they were wrong, and someone went out and did something about it. (We do have unsanctioned slavery and human trafficking, but that's also being brought to the fore and outraged people are doing something about it).

This is what ultimately makes this country great, I think. We do correct what's wrong, we are mostly sincere people trying to do the right thing.

Carlos' story of how all of this came about and he found himself in the middle of a maelstrom of contraversy over these boxes is something he could share and could use to advocate for a groundbreaking and massively new approach with the way owls and even other birds are being exploited by the ignorant and unscrupulous.

If Carlos came up with a better system, or designed boxes based on the british system, HE could have a company that puts in owlboxes that are successful, humane, and good for the owls in the long run. Why couldn't HE be the one w/ a company, one that does it right? He is a businessman after all, and he's also proved to be an excellent communicator.

Anyway, heres' the post from the reader - I do see hope with these new developments!

By the way, please keep putting in your comments! It helps me know what you're all thinking about!

-Stacey

PS: To address the question of why owls would even choose such an unsatisfactory habitat for fledging, we must remember that over the past 150 million years or so, all they had to find was a good hole, up high, with reasonable protection from weather and predators. Those holes were only found in hollow trees which already had branches galore and a trunk for climbing up. So they did not evolve to "look for" branches. They evolved to look for a hole, peer into it, and find a cavity inside. The rest was obvious, since there had been no industrial revolution, no massive development encroaching on their territories, etc. So the owls cannot keep up with what man has done to lure them in. They find a hole, peer in, and WOW there's a nice cavity. Time to make a nest! It would take millions of years, perhaps, for them to 'adapt' to these yucky boxes on poles, and develop a whole new way of learning to fly. At this point, we can't change the owls...

=----------------------------------Comment from a reader of the blog ---------------------

http://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/popup_slide.html?Id=98
http://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/infopage.html?Id=41

Hi Stacey, Its Lynn (lynndw4771). I had these links brought to my attention and this shows pretty much exactly what you've been talking about. That having these owl boxes is not what wild barn owls have been used to and is not their natural habitat by any means... When it comes to fledging, barn owls must first ' branch' which is something that other wild songbirds do not do! I was someone in a chatroom last night say that IF an owlet tumbled out the owl box door, and over the edge, it would be no big deal, because they have the instinct to flap their wings up and down until they come to a soft landing. ( WOW! Are they mis-led by someone!) If everyone could see the 2 sites that I have given you above, they would ( or at least SHOULD) totally understand those that are concerned by this type of a box that is being sold in CA for barn owls.

Again, no one is trying to tear anyone down or make anyone look bad, but just to get info out there to share what is needed when you want the best in safety for these new little owls.

In the UK, they have already gone through THIS stage of 'unfortunate & sad' learning & by that have come up with a design to help them be as safe as if they were in a tree or flat loft where they would have room to branch..hop, flap wings, back and forth til they learn to support their weight, which they don't know how to do when they first start trying it.

You will see in these plans on this link, they tell to have the entrance hole into the nest at least 10 inches, I think it was..or higher from the bottom of the nest, and then some small peg/perch-type protrusions up to the hole , where they learn hopping and flapping their wings INSIDE of the box before they get near an edge that is high up.. IN a tree..if they did it at a place too high for them, the branches underneath them who 'catch' them..not so with an owl box on a pole.

With this design box mentioned in the above link, they would NOT get out of the entrance/exit hole until they had already 'practiced hopping up on small protrusions and flapping wings and back down.. once their wings are stronger, then they can reach the hole to jump out, etc.. ALSO..once they get to THAT point..there needs to be a large enough 'trunk' at ground level, for them to climb back up it to the box to get back in!

Well... watching the links says it all..
and these guys have learned it by the poor owlets that have fallen from the straight pole w/ the hole easy for them to get out of, and then no way to climb back up to the safety of their nest.
Hope this helps in your endeavors and helps those who want to have things done right for these sweet wild creatures.
Lynndw4771

35 comments:

wess_liana said...

Stacey! I'm so glad to see your post! I was worried that our spirited conversation after the last blog post may have caused you undue stress! I applaud your common-sense reasoning!

I do trust your judgement, Stacey... you are after all the one who's devoted her life to these dear creatures. I'm the type of person who always gives others the benefit of the doubt, so it saddens me to realize that I was duped by the 'professional in question' as well.

I will be in Bellingham on Sunday and am thoroughly looking forward to it! I'll see you there!
-Liana

Janet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eva =uD said...

Oi Stacey!
Infelizmente estou sem muito tempo nesse momento, nao pude terminar de ler todo o seu post...=[
Prometo voltar com mais calma, mais tarde!
Beijos!

Jan said...

Could something as simple as a thick rope work for a "branch" to help the owlets climb back up to the box? A rope like they use to tie down big tents - thick and taut? It would have the texture necessary for their talons to be able to grab. It would also be relatively inexpensive and non-invasive as far as construction in the garden.

This has been a fascinating learning experience. Knew nothing about owls a couple months ago!

Chris said...

Stacy, so good to see you posting again. You've praised Carlos' platform, but I am still very concerned. It's some distance from the box and quite a bit lower. I don't see, even if they actually can get that far on first flight and not fall through the gap between box and platform, how on earth they will get all the way back up to the box, hit the "porch" and enter.

It seems when they first leave the box, they will either hit the ground on first attempt or else be stuck on the landing pad unprotected from flying predators, day or night. Please tell us what you think can be done about this.

I asked Carlos on Chat about some kind of turf panel "bridge" reaching from platform to box to both bridge the gap and also let them climb back up. But I was mocked as a worry wart, and jokes were made about wanting swimming pools and tennis courts, so I know I can't do anything.

Please share your thoughts.

Your original wheeled frame at same height as entrance was a perfect solution, I still see likelihood of injury or death with the current situation.

Kathlene said...

I would like your thought on this link:
http://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/content_images/pdf/Polebox_design_50.pdf"
from the barn owl trust site as well as this one:
"http://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/infopage.html?Id=42"

I'm not understanding why they are advocating these boxes on poles ???
All of your knowledge and experience makes sense to me. Although owls are different as we are learning new things from Molly & McGee. I'm not understanding why the Barn Owl Trust as such links.
Mahalo nui loa!

Ter-o-fla said...

Very insightful and well-written post, Stacey. Thank you. :)

Just now Carlos is saying that the tree near the box is fine and huge and there are bushes and fences and all is wonderful and there is supposed to be no more talk of what will happen when these owls fledge.
So be it.

maizyb said...

For those of you who've been working for years on things the rest of us have no clue about it must be incredibly frustrating to see mistakes made and repeated on a monumental scale. Thank you, Stacey, for the kind and compassionate example you set by responding with such grace.
We are all here to learn and grow, each in our own way, our own time. One way or another, this is bound to be a learning experience for a LOT of people. At this point it doesn't appear it will be an easy lesson, but sometimes we learn better from our mistakes.

Victoria said...

Glad to see that someone provided a link to show people photos of what can happen if there isn't a proper area for fledging.

I heard Carlos this afternoon,(May 1st)talking about the reason he put up the pad was for the worry warts, that he didn't think it was really necessary. I was baffled by his comment. He went on to say that the supposed experts have been wrong on many counts because they are talking about owls in captivity, and his are wild owls.

He said owls have been nesting for a huge number of years, and that we don't give them enough credit for knowing what they're doing.

There was more, but basically I came away with the understanding that he hasn't looked at The Barn Owl Trust site. That he feels he has enough experience with wildlife, though he does say he is not an owl expert.

Hopefully he will read this blog, though I doubt it. I got the impression feeling that he thinks he's done more than enough,and doesn't think there's a problem with the design of the box.

Chris said...

That was so tragic about the little seal that Stacey told about, being killed by the whale and seen by everyone. That of course was totally unpreventable, and had nothing to do with human structures.

One nice thing, I suppose about this situation here is that if something does happen, like injury or death to the owlets once they jump off the box, it will happen off camera, so those happy chatters need never know it. They can just believe that Molly is feeding them off in a tree somewhere.

maizyb said...

Victoria,
The thing that stuck in my mind was his statement that the owls "would float to the ground".

I asked Donna in the main room this morning if he'd consider Stacey's suggestion to wrap astroturf on the ladder's legs so they could pull themselves back up. She answered "There is a tree that the owlets can climb back up if need be. It shows in the blog photos"
They learned the hard way in the UK, but they eventually got it figured out. The same can still happen here. Eventually.

maizyb said...

Chris,
Maybe next time they start talking about swimming pools & tennis courts you could suggest a trampoline on the ground.
If they don't like that idea, maybe they'd go for a camera poised to catch that "soft landing"

kasm said...

Stacey,
ever so graceful and insightful. You have a way of calming the crowd I admire that. I so look forward to your blog every day. I'm glad you're back. I hope this means you feel as rested as can be.

Gaffney said...

Hello Stacey-

Thanks for the new post and the calmness with which you are approaching this situation.

Our continuing efforts in pushing for perches, graspable surfaces and a way for them to return to the box seems like it is falling on deaf ears. It seems Carlos is exerting a lot of pushback and I get the feeling there is no changing his mind. We Worry Warts are being smugly dismissed and being made fun of. There were two lengthy episodes of that today, 1 May.

I think what we see on-site now is all the owlets are going to receive, which is better that it was, per Stacey’s expert opinion. I surely hope it doesn’t happen but most likely, ‘gravity’ will take its course, not ‘nature’. Certainly ‘nature’ will be blamed. Whether or not tragedy visits this owlbox, Max, Pattison, Austin and Wesley will have had their lives mean something. They have been loved, fought for and will be remembered by so many, whatever the outcome may be.

These owlets have put a face to what dreadful situations can arise when unscrupulous owlbox companies are in this business strictly for profit. Maybe if a national news organization, or PBS, were to produce an exposé on this subject, from installation to outcome, including interviews with Stacey, Carlos, the Barn Owl Trust, Sky Hunters, etc., those companies who traffick in and profit from creating perilous situations for wildlife, would likely (and hopefully) go down in smoke. Using this owlbox experience in particular would be most beneficial because so many people around the world are watching and have fallen in love with Molly, McGee and their family.

My most fervent hope and intention is that these little owlets fledge successfully and if there are problems that they will be immediately rescued. There really isn’t much time remaining before we find out what the future holds for these most precious little ones.

Victoria said...

Later today I caught a bit of Carlos doing a talk and answering some questions. He mentioned that his tree is close to the box and he has fencing, and that he and Donna drove around San Marcos and looked at other owl boxes. Since they are all the same, with no porches or perches, the design must be correct. Ok, what if they're all wrong.

I hope Carlos will finally realize that there is a problem with the design and placement of the boxes around San Marcos. But I have a feeling that it will have to be someone else who takes up the torch.

From what I've heard him say twice in one day, Carlos thinks there is nothing wrong with the box, and that the owls can figure it out.

Cybee said...

Bravo, Stacey! I think your blog, and everyone watching and learning...Carlos too..the word IS getting out about owlboxes. As people become more aware, hopefully owl boxes will become regulated such as in the UK. Truly, it is too tragic to think of these owlets falling to their doom....I am so glad that via Carlos' owlbox and your comments, etc., we are all learning. Greater awareness bodes well for the owls. Word of mouth can lead to action. Let us hope it does.

V said...

I think the seller of the boxes has sold himself out for a quick buck.
I also think he's brainwashed the buyers into thinking everything is going to be ok.

It sad how Stacey & Barn Owl Trust were quoted so often in the early days &
now reference to them is taboo.

I'd bet any money if something happens to one of the fledglings, we'll never hear about it.

Carlos isn't fooling all of us. Some of us notice the differences to changes made to the porch.
He's been up there more than once.

He never fesses up until several people call him on it. It takes him a few days to come
up with a good cover story.

Watching this owl family has been wonderful.
Watching the chatroom worshippers has been sickening.

Magicsmom said...

Stacy, it's wonderful to see you posting. I applaud your attempts at diplomacy, but I have heard Carlos mocking you and other "worry warts". Unlike you, I have a hard time believing he has learned anything at all. I think he has done what he did to shut people up. I dread to think of what will become of these owlets. Have fun in Washington!

Charlotte said...

Hooray, Stacey! It was a relief to see your post. We look forward to hearing from you again when the flurry of travel is over and you’re completely recovered from the whirlwind!

Thanks for being the calm in the eye of the storm. Your posts are a reminder to look beyond what seems black and white in Mollywood. You accomplish what many of us find pretty hard to do at this point: By shining a light on Carlos’ successes in all that has happened, you continue to gently open again and again the door to positive outcome that Carlos continually kicks shut with defensiveness, ego and “go away, worry wart” speeches.

I wonder if there is anyone in your blog readership who knows how to make direct contact with the Royals? I’ve tried PM ing Carlos on the ustream chat and have not been successful. Nancy Conney (from Skyhunters) would like the Royals to know that if one of the babies WERE to fall, she has one of her people (licensed through her organization) living right in San Marcos. They could help at any time of day or night. If anyone out there is able to pass that along, Nancy’s number, again, is 619-445-6565.

Patricia said...

The other clue that has me worried about Carlos' underlying attitude is that he seems to be cheer-leading for the owlets to come out of the box before they are really ready to do so. The other night, he said that McGee and Molly seemed to be "teasing" them with food to try to get them to come out the door, especially the oldest, Max.

I felt that Carlos's excited interjection via his mic about this latest "change in behavior," as he calls it, was a sign that he wants this show to move along whether or not they are ready.

I'm sorry to say that he does seem to want to prove "the experts" and "worry warts" to be wrong. Sadly, if these owlets do happen, miraculously and through pure luck, to survive this experience, I think he will simply use his terrific communication and marketing skills to declare the owl scientists to be wrong.

I really think that the only thing that would make Carlos rethink his view would be for all of these owlets to be killed. And even then I suspect he would simply take the box down and go back to his other activities. I hope I'm wrong.

While there are wonderful "regulars" in the chat room (I suspect most of them also read/post here) the ones who don't want to hear a single negative comment about the M&M situation make me really ill. "Carlos has done so much for us" is the completely baffling remark that I read over and over again. For them it really is just a Disney movie. How sad for everyone.

Janet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlotte said...

Fellow "Wesley the owl" bloggers it is wonderful to read your posts along with Stacey's. By reading here and by staying clear of ustream chat rooms I am able to protect my last gray hairs. Patricia, you may be right in believing that "the only thing that would make Carlos rethink his view would be for all of these owlets to be killed". However, that would likely never happen. I am sure it would not be possible, scientifically and statistically speaking, for all 4 owlets to have inherited what is called (according to one brilliant ustream blogger), "the fall off gene".

owl said...

Victoria, I was reading Carlos' similar comments between 6p and 7p May 1st. It was kind of sad to read his comments and how the MOD Clique was feeding off his comments. I felt like I was in high school all over again.

V said...

Patricia, You summed up my feelings too.
He's brainwashed some that Molly is the exception to every rule.
I watched him list off all the things he said the "so called experts" said & they were wrong.
He has a very twisted view & has fed it to the mod mob.
It's sad & sickening to even look at the main chat room.

Monica K. said...

The impression I got from Stacey's post is that she feels the current setup is sufficient for the owlets. Maybe it's not perfect, but few owls will have *the perfect* setup. Sure, Carlos makes references to "worrywarts," but time has shown that he goes out of his way to improve the setup in accordance with the recommendations that are made here. I don't think he deserves all the vitriol being directed at him. Quite the contrary; I agree with Stacey that he deserves our appreciation for raising public consciousness of barn owls and their habitats.

Charlotte said...

Monika K you are definitely entitled to your opinion! I did not, however, interpret stacey's last post in the way that you did. I heard her applaud carlos for making changes and that it "sure beats the heck out of what wasn't there before!" When she went on to say the "ladders might also be possible branching spots, especially if he were to cover one of those slanted ladder 'legs' with astroturf or something the babies could hook their claws into without getting them stuck" I interpreted that there was room for making the present situation even better.

Please remember what Stacey said in an earlier post about the need for fledging help within 3 feet of the door AT THE SAME LEVEL.. let me quote stacey.. "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". I agree, the landing platform is a great addition. If you look carefully at the pictures, the new platform is not at the same level. Clearly (to me) the owlets have challenges beyond their capabilities if they are expected to HOP all the way to that tree or to the platform. Perhaps that is why Stacey brings up Skyhunters again.. they are SO willing to help.

Because many of you may not have read or can't remember the great information that Stacey shared with us about how owls fledging is different from songbirds, I will end by quoting stacey one more time..

"when the babies start to fledge, they will do so in a process. Owl babies do not fledge all at once as one event the way songbirds do. First, they don't fledge to the ground like songbirds. Instead, they begin to hop from the nest to a nearby branch, then back again, over and over again. They can't fly yet, but they begin to exercise their wings by flapping them very hard while holding tight to a tree branch, and they hop back and forth.

Eventually, this hopping starts to include a little bit of lift, as if flying or gliding, but then there's the safety of nearby tree branches upon which to land".

I personally believe (after careful examination of recent pictures) that the new platform is at least a few feet BELOW the level of the platform. Yes, Carlos has made great strides in attempting to do something. I pray that he will remain open and will soon acknowledge that baby owls have DIFFERENT fledging needs than the wild birds he has invited in to his yard previously.

Patricia said...

Charlotte, I just wanted to say that I agree that it's unlikely that all four owlets would be lost to falling accidents. That is why I think it is also unlikely that Carlos would become an activist in terms of advocating for better boxes and installation of boxes. I really think that he would have to witness a total tragedy before he would believe that his owl box was poorly designed and/or situated.

This morning he was talking about "nature" and the "circle of life," and said that should an owlet suddenly disappear, it would likely be because it had become food for a predator creature--or its family--and that we would have to accept that idea. He is not wrong. However, I could not help thinking, as he was speaking, that he seems to be beginning to work out a line of rationalization should this nest of owlets fail.

Honestly, I want to believe that Carlos has the best interests of these creatures at heart. He has made some very good efforts that I appreciate. It's in his own best interests for these owlets to thrive all the way through a successful "launch." I think he will do whatever it takes to save them, including calling in rescue personnel should any one of them wind up helpless and/or injured on the ground in his yard. Even if this weren't such a high profile nest, I think he would do the right thing in that regard. He does love birds.

But I think he has a ways to go yet before he really "hears" what people like Stacey are trying to tell him.

When other birds fledge from their nests they disappear into nearby bushes and trees and we have no idea what actually becomes of them--we just hope for the best, and our inclination is always to assume the best. Any other presumption is too painful. I think Carlos is hoping that he will be able to count on such an optimistic, presumed outcome in this case.

But prepare to hear that "nature"--not the box set-up--is to blame should some of these owls not make it.

Libby said...

I think it is helpful that Carlos' site has taken down the adverts for the box maker, and he no longer touts them. I personally would find it useful and more civil if everyone could take a more positive tone in all of these exchanges. Negative comments about other negative comments just exacerbate the noise, and heighten the tension. We need to protect the owls and other wild birds. Period.

kathr said...

Glad to see you are moderating your tone about Carlos.
"Calls for me and Nancy to get involved are appreciated but what can we do?" Isn't this a bit disingenuous? You already ARE involved ,Stacy, and you continue to involve yourself by 1)blogging about nothing else and 2)continuing to visit the chatroom.

On 5/2 Carlos did a tour of his garden..video now posted on the site. the earliest one at 9:46 am gives the best view of the owlbox and landing platform, ladders, tree etc. I urge you to watch this if you have not done so.
I am not an owl expert but it looks pretty good to me. If you do not choose to watch this then I suggest you cease to feed people's fears and dire forecasts of owlets falling during the fledging. Otherwise I will completely lose confidence in you as a scientist, because I don't think a responsible scientist would make assertions about a site you have not even seen.

Chris said...

Kathr, the garden tour was lovely, and I'm sure Carlos wants the best. But reality is, no way can a first fledging owlet, if he is lucky enough to jump across 3 feet and down 2 to hit a "landing pad" ever hope to get back up to that box door. Whoever thinks they can just has never seen how weak and uncoordinated owlets are. And if they are stuck on the landing pad, either great horned owls or daytime flying predators can pick them off quickly.

No, it is absolutely not sufficient.

He needs to do more research if he wants them to be able to get to safety, but all discussion in chat is banned as "worry warts."

Chris said...

I agree that to someone unfamiliar with raptor behavior, and owl behavior specifically, and owl fledging, more specifically, that set up might "look pretty good" as you say, but to anyone familiar with these things, merely knowing those measurements is quite sufficient. Wild animals die constantly and wrongly most of the time when humans get involved, because even the best of intentions doesn't equal knowledge.

I gave up falconry years ago because I couldn't bear to watch how many falconers meant well, but caused tragedies for the birds because they simply didn't know enough about natural behavior.

What many people are objecting to about this situation (I don't mean the haters) is that more research and discussion needs to take place before Carlos and Donna can state as fact that everything is fine. It simply isn't.

Charlotte said...

kathr.. too bad you weren't able to say what you had to say without being condescending and rude. Your point was LOST.

Janet said...

Kathr...Ummm the ladders...one is used for a camera and the other is not close (was to be used for a camera). I mean WHY is it so hard for people to realise they need lots of places to land and fall to to flege properly?! GO to UTUBE and watch barn owls flegde Kathr and you will change your words!

Stacey O'Brien said...

I agree with pledtype on this. There are places that build a better box, that have had a lot of trial and error and built this into their design. They have websites, etc.

The information is out there.

The problem is that there is absolutely no regulation, no law about owl boxes, so there is no way to prevent bad situations from happening - right now. My hope, in bringing all this up, is that this information can become "common knowledge" and that there will be people who are willing to call for laws to enforce a required humane branching/fledging system with the boxes. This is not the case, now.

Carlos is in an unfortunate position which he did not ask to be in when he started all this. He did think he was hiring a professional so it was in all innocence that he finds himself in this situation.

But, because of his huge audience, he is perfectly positioned to SHOW THE WORLD how it should really be done. He can change the way it's done! THat's why I've been hoping he'd work with Skyhunters to build a great branching/fledging system that would become that standard to which everyone would turn for building owl boxes. I would love for Carlos to use his inventiveness to make a massive, worldwide difference for barn owls. He has the platform to do this, a platform that I don't think anyone has EVER had!

That's why I have so carefully described what could be one and have advocated for him to work w/ someone who's an expert and put up an amazing and easily copied system for branching and fledging. It's such a golden opportunity to do something so very very significant and to make changes in the consciousness of so many people.

If he put up a great, expert approved branching system, and the world watched how perfectly it worked as the babies learned to fly (and it's fun to watch them learn to fly! It's the BEST entertainment in the world!), people would change the way they did things. For decades to come, his video of his expert branching system would become the standard by which all other boxes and branching systems were built.

He would then have a legacy beyond just this one box of owls. His legacy would be that he was THE GUY who changed the way people thought about owl habitats, worldwide.

What a huge opportunity.

That's why wildlife experts are frustrated - they see the opportunity for so much greatness!

I'm still optimistic! It's not too late to build a system and wheel it in, and set it in front of the box! Not too late!

Kathlene said...

I would like your thought on this link:
http://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/content_images/pdf/Polebox_design_50.pdf"
from the barn owl trust site as well as this one:
"http://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/infopage.html?Id=42"

I'm not understanding why they are advocating these boxes on poles ???
All of your knowledge and experience makes sense to me. Although owls are different as we are learning new things from Molly & McGee. I'm not understanding why the Barn Owl Trust as such links.
Mahalo nui loa!