It was a unique gift that really got my heart racing a few months later.
Last year for Father’s Day, my eldest son gave me an owl box he built himself. It is about 2-1/2 feet tall and 1 square foot on the floor. The opening is about 7”x7”. It was specifically designed for barred owls.
He made it from scrap wood—plywood used in roofing so it would be weather durable but it was also quite heavy. The nesting box probably weighs 30-35 lbs.
When I received it, it came with a promise that he would return and help me mount it in a tree! (I thought that was a good idea because I wasn’t planning on pulling it up a ladder by myself.) We finally got that chance this spring.
For months Jenni and I had considered different trees from the vantage point of our sun room and finally settled on the crook of a particular oak tree down the hill from our house. Do you know how difficult it is to keep your eye on a specific tree as you hike down a hill maneuvering around trees and other hazards? It took a couple tries to make sure we had the right tree. So my son and I carried the 30 ft ladder, 35 lbs. nesting box, ropes, power tools, etc. down the hill to prepare for the installation. Then, after careful consideration of all the underbrush around the chosen tree and the slope it was growing on, we decided to try another tree nearby!
We leaned the fully extended ladder against the newly designated tree and I went back up the hill to the house to see what it would look like. I could barely see the ladder; the slope was so steep from the house that we would never be able to get the box high enough to be visible from the house.
Time for Plan C.
We settled on another oak; this one would be visible from the front porch and much easier to lean a ladder against. ‘Easy’ is a relative term.
After much wrangling we hoisted the owl box up about 30 feet using a rope. That’s when we realized our son loves heights as much as his mother. The fact that the ladder shook, dipped, and bounced did not help. He gladly allowed me the thrill of climbing the ladder. I managed to rest the box on a branch and get one screw in the bottom brace. Normally Jenni would stay in the house for something like this but since our manpower was limited, she agreed to hold the ladder. As I studied what to do next, Jenni begged me to come down which I gladly did and we all decided a stronger ladder would help tremendously.
A few hours later we had the newer ladder and renewed energy. Many different strategic plans were discussed about how best to secure the box. Once up the ladder, they mostly seemed impossible to achieve. In the end, I sawed off one small limb that was in the way, my son pushed the box with an extended pole to force it against the tree trunk, and I put an impact driver to the screws and pronounced it ‘good enough’.
The next evening, after my legs had stopped quivering, I did my best owl impersonation. I think I conjured up a corn snake instead. But the following morning when Jenni first let the dogs out, she heard an owl nearby!
Realistically, we’re not expecting a tenant for a couple years, but it’s exciting to think we may get to watch them from our front porch.
I hope they appreciate the effort!
Whoo Whoo, Whoo Whoooooooo.