Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Habitat for Owls

Somehow, in my transition to adulthood, something went very astray. Rather than choosing a more suburban lifestyle like most other members of my family, I spent a college quarter backpacking in the woods and was permanently warped into a tree-hugging mutant. I eventually married into a family that built a profitable empire out of, among other things, selling the digestive products of owls.

Which brings me to the point I’ve been trying to get to:
Email notification just arrived that owl pellets are on sale at Ward’s Natural Sciences. Get ‘em while you can.

Fun facts about owl pellets:
“When an Owl is about to produce a pellet, it will take on a pained expression—the eyes are closed, the facial disc narrow, and the bird will be reluctant to fly. At the moment of expulsion, the neck is stretched up and forward, the beak is opened, and the pellet simply drops out without any retching or spitting movements.”

That’s more than I can say for my cat.

For more on this subject you can read the full text of the article here.

In our own efforts to encourage more owls to come hither and eat heartily of gophers and rats, Popsey built this owl house awhile ago:

It more or less follows some plans we found on the internet, though he added some special features such as talon-cradling manzanita perches on the inside and outside of the front door, and secret double backdoors where we could ostensibly peer in and watch the action, or clean the box out, if they ever moved in. It has two rooms so they can have a separate area to build a nest and another that would be sort of a media/library/get-away-from-the-kids room.

We mounted it as high as possible on the outside of the barn.

The owls don’t seem to have moved in yet, but according to another owl factoid they only move into 50% of available housing. Back to work Popsey…they need more options! They must want hot water, and central heating, and a dishwasher. The local housing market is much different for their species apparently. If they were humans, there would definitely be a homeless encampment in there by now.


  1. Is this business in the family?

  2. Well yes, it was started by Popsey's great grandfather. We aren't in contact with anyone still involved with it though. We have an old Life Magazine article about it when it started. It's pretty neat.