Peter Ward, Ken Hall and I met with Markus Merkens of Metro Vancouver Parks this morning at our Nats storage locker (new shelving installed – thanks Lynden) at Centennial Beach. Metro Vancouver was neither happy with our Barn Owl Box design nor our suggested installation near Cammidge House. Markus has ordered a telephone pole and wants to install a bigger box on it and put it in the “old field habitat”, further away from public activity. So, Peter and Ken will make another Barn Owl Box following Markus’ instructions. I/Delta Nats agreed to pay for the materials for the new box, noting and again thanking Peter and Ken for their donated labour. Barn Owls are currently nesting, so the new box would not be used this season, and Peter and Ken are very busy with other box commitments; so they will make our box, in due course, and we will install it onto Markus’ pole this Summer for his/MV installation before the Fall. There will certainly be an “event” on the installation date. Meanwhile, the other Barn Owl Box is in our storage locker awaiting assignment, perhaps somewhere else in Delta.
Peter, Ken and I, later joined by Rick Swanston, installed the last two Bird Boxes, refurbished by Peter, and we “baffled” several others to make the holes smaller (we don’t want Sparrows using our boxes). Prior to moving to the 12th Avenue parking lot, we put Delta Nats Labels and 7/8 inch baffles on the last two Boxes 28 and 29. We also cut our last two 2X4 posts for easier pounding into the ground.
Our first stop was to put a 7/8 inch baffle on Box No. 1 because we found that a House Sparrow had already started a nest in this “one-inch hole” new box. Then we put Box No. 28 further along from boxes 1 and 2 on the north side of the 12th Avenue path. Then we put Box No. 29 in the line further along from boxes 22 to 25 on the west side of the outer trail. Box 29 is 40 paces from Box 25 and we placed it facing the Bay (unlike 22 to 25 whose holes face inland – just another test of nesting preference). The posts went in quite easily with Ken on the sledge hammer, Peter guiding the post, Rick holding the metal “split preventer”, and me staying out of the way. We put one inch baffles on Boxes 15, 17 and 19 behind the Pump House. Peter had used up his 7/8 inch baffles, but the one inch baffles are hopefully better (i.e. at Sparrow prevention) than the large holes, which we know the Sparrows had used. Both Peter and Rick took photos which hopefully we will receive and post soon.
The numbering system is a bit askew, but we now have 30 numbered, clean and closed boxes in BBRP ready for nesting by Tree Swallows, and some for Chickadees (and Monitoring by Nats). Actually, we have another un-numbered Chickadee Box (13A) in a tree near Box 13 (making 31 boxes, but we don’t have any more numbers). I trust my explanation is clear so Donna can edit our Bird Box Report and Map that she so brilliantly created. Note that the Report and Maps can be viewed as links on our DNCB Blog (www.dncb.wordpress.com). Ken Borrie has done a super job as architect of our Blog, and he may choose to post some of this drivel. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society