This is our second owl house, in an old pine in a hollow below our pond. I put it up over 15 years ago and it's been a popular abode for many barn owls and their raucous broods.
In all the years that the box has been up, I've never cleaned it out. I always meant to, but it was one of those jobs that was easy to put off for another time.
Finally, last autumn, I noticed that the weight of the debris inside the nest had split the sides of half of the box and things were definitely askew. However, I hadn't seen any owls around it in awhile, so figured that they'd moved on to better digs than our ramshackle box with daylight pouring in through the sides.
Imagine my surprise when I was out on my walk last week and spotted an owl sailing out of the box and into the woods. If the box was empty, I didn't see any great harm in leaving it as it was -- but if an owl was planning on raising a brood in there, something had to be done to at least hold it together.
On closer inspection, it was in really, really bad shape. I'm surprised that any self-respecting owl would even consider moving in there.
As we stood below the tree, looking up, an irrate owl flapped out (only several very blurry pictures of this).
It only took a few false starts before I had the straps in place the right way. I then was able to ratchet the straps tightly around the box. There still was a little gapping, but it was a lot better than it had been.
Hmm. Yes, I like the seedy look of the owl house's new red-checked suspenders. It's got a steampunk sort of vibe to it now that brings an exciting new trendiness to Frogpond Acres.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.