Delta Nats Barn Owl Box Report

Our two Barn Owl Boxes in Boundary Bay and North 40 Parks were checked this March and neither was occupied.  However, there were positive signs.

Photos, and videos, by Roger Meyer
Click on any photo to see larger version

Boundary Bay Barn Owl Box

On Friday, March 14, I joined Metro Vancouver’s Lynden Mager and Richard Mills to examine our new “mansion” Barn Owl Box that was installed on December 17, 2013 in the “oldfields” area of BBRP.  You can check out the extremely interesting report on the historic installation, including photos and videos, on our Blog at the end of Report DNCB No. 2013-50.

It was spitting rain when we arrived at the pole and box in the MV Pick up.  I scanned the surroundings below the box and was exhilarated when I found a few pellets.

BBRP Box: pellets on the ground

BBRP Box: pellets on the ground

We kept watching the Box to see if anything would fly out; nothing did.  Fortunately Richard and Lynden are somewhat mechanically inclined because it took them some time and manoeuvring with the winch attached to the truck to get the Box down the pulley.  The Box had turned about 90 degrees around the pole since installation (wind).  We knew by now there was no Owl in the box, so once lowered I opened it.  The Box bottom was sort of half covered with “fur” which I suspect was broken up pellets.  It wasn’t enough for a nest, but at least evidence that a Barn Owl had been inside.  I looked into the “parent’s ensuite” as well and found a huge pellet there; more confirmation of usage.

BBRP Box: pellet in “parent’s ensuite”

BBRP Box: pellet in “parent’s ensuite”

We took a couple of photos and raised the box back up the pole.  Raising and lowering the Box is quite an ordeal.  Metro Vancouver staff has to do it; so I suspect that we won’t be examining this Box very often, probably only in Spring and Fall.

It was fun to do it with Lynden and Richard because both are keen and interested in the DNS Barn Owl program.

North 40 Barn Owl Box

On Thursday, March 27, after 7:00 p.m., Roger and I went to the North Forty Park to examine our “middle class” Barn Owl Box.  The Report on the North 40 Box Installation on October 8, 2013 includes photos and Roger’s inane video.  We also checked the Box on March 3, 2014 and found pellets on the ground beneath the Box (see Blog Report DNCB 2014-9).

Yesterday evening was clear, but the Park was muddy and covered with lots of water.  Fortunately we wore boots.  We checked beneath the box and, disappointingly, we found no pellets.  The pole was a bit loose, but okay.

As we put up the ladder, we kept visibly checking the hole but nothing flew out.  I unscrewed the door and opened the empty box.  The floor had a flimsy layer of straw and grass, but no pellets or feces.  We wondered whether an owl or other species would have put this here.

As my learned friend pontificated, “Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence”.  So the Barn Owls could have been there, and may hopefully use it.  We will continue to monitor the box.

As asides, the Bald Eagle pair in the nest nearby is sitting on eggs.  And back at the parking area, a Cooper’s Hawk landed on a branch, then took off directly at us and into our binoculars before veering off at the last minute.  Wish my bins had video capabilities.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society

Videos by Roger (also posted on YouTube):

(Tom takes the camera, Roger up the ladder)

About dncb

DNS: Delta Naturalists are a group of nature lovers whose aim is to foster interest in the natural history of the Fraser delta by sharing and enjoying nature and promoting environmental awareness and conservation. DNCB: Delta Nats Casual Birders is a group of Casual Birders who go Birding at different locations each week, usually within the Lower Mainland or in nearby Washington State.
This entry was posted in *DNS, Bald Eagle, Barn Owl Box, BBRP, Cooper's Hawk, North Forty/VWS. Bookmark the permalink.

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