After having placed the nest boxes I got to work to build one more very large nest box for Tawny owls. This Nestboxes is not the traditional design for Tawny owls but having seen the success of those using a wider box design instead of the long tube shaped boxes I set to work. Again I took home some large pieces of plywood from work and by this time I had managed to get together enough wood for the larger build. This box would comprise of a large nesting area, a short tunnel-like entrance hole with a platform balcony for the young owlets to explore once they fledge. For future builds I will build a slightly shallower nest box so that the young owls will be able to stand up and see the outside world, this means they are less likely to fledge prematurely because of their curiosity of the outside world.
The final box turned out really well and for some scrap pieces of wood I was really pleased. My Dad will tell you most of my DIY include a bunch of nails and some bits of wood, usually making things that don’t look anything like the plans ! After speaking to a few experts on nest box building I took away the astroturf as there was a concern of holding in moisture which could potentially start the rotting process of the wood. Once the box was put into position, again lugged up a ladder, I added some local wood shavings from the farm. I can tell you this though, lifting a large box built from 18mm plywood is not an easy feat and was a workout in itself !
With the nest box in position and my energy sapped from putting it up there was just one more thing to do. I had been in touch with a company called Reolink, which produce solar powered cameras. These cameras differ from trail cameras as they operate with a phone SIM. This means that a live feed is streamed directly to an app on my phone which means I can view the camera anywhere and at any time. Another cool feature is the ability to set motion alert when something is detected in front of the camera. This meant that once the camera and nest box had been set up I could start getting alerts when the owls started appearing. It also meant I didn’t have to carry a ladder to the box to check a trail camera in the trees. This clip was recorded whilst I was at work so it just goes to show the flexibility of using these cameras and that they are brilliant for monitoring wildlife. I will be writing another blog piece on the specifics of this camera but for now I will leave you this clip of a Tawny owl checking out the new nest box.