Monday, July 19, 2010

Working on Walls

The north wall of the cages.

Although it's been really hot and humid lately, Roger and Laurel have been plugging away at the cage walls. They are usually only able to work half days because of the heat, but they are making steady progress.

They needed to put in little two foot wide horizontal crossbars along all the walls, every four vertical feet. This amounted to a LOT of little pieces of 2x4s. Next came brace boards bolted on to bring the weight of the roof down to the concrete footings.

Then they put up screen so the owls will be protected from mosquitoes and West Nile Virus (which is often fatal to Great Horned Owls.) Two kinds of screening went up: shade cloth donated by Houston Hoedown Days and charcoal aluminum screen donated by Phifer Incorporated of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The shade cloth went on the entire north wall plus the sections of the south wall that will be covered with vertical wooded slats. The aluminum screen went on the south wall where there will be chainlink, so the birds can have a better view.

Laurel put on steel sheets two feet high all around the bottom of the cages. This serves to give the birds privacy while they're on the ground and also helps keep the mice IN the cage when the young owls are going to "mouse school" to learn to hunt before being released.

While Laurel worked on the steel skirt, Roger installed showers for the owls. Yes, these owls will have showers over their bath pans! On really hot days I can turn on the shower to encourage the owls to bathe and cool off. This is an especially welcome thing when the owls are molting and itchy and hot and there hasn't been rain for a while.

Putting up the screen was a huge job, but an even bigger job is yet to come: installing the wooden slats and chain link on the inside of the cage walls and ceiling! Hopefully that will start to happen this week!