Monday, May 20, 2013

Remodeling and Updating

Back in 1996 we built a mew (facility to house a raptor) for a Red-tailed Hawk I intended to get for falconry.  Turns out I got an American Kestrel instead, and it was much easier to do the weight control necessary for falconry having the kestrel live in the house.  Alice lived in the mew for one year before moving into the house, so the mew really hasn't been used much.  Time, however, has taken its toll.

I am hoping to get a non-releasable Barn Owl from Wisconsin as an education bird, but we need to have a place for it to live before I can get the bird added to my permit and then get the owl.  Hein and I spent the day yesterday dismantling the old mew down to the posts so we can rebuild it.  The existing wood was rotting on it (much of it was untreated because at the time treated lumber had arsenic in it.)  We'll be ordering materials soon, and Badger Corrugating in La Crosse, WI always gives us great prices for our owl projects.

We now have a new pan/tilt/zoom cam to add to the flight pen so we can watch Pandora, Patrick, and Patience much better.  Before the cam goes in, there's a lot of wiring to be strung.  We started in the entryway to the breeding pen, where all the electrical stuff is housed.  Hein pulled off a board so he could string the wires and found the mice had rebuilt their home again.  It's made almost entirely of fluffy owl feathers.  Must be snug in the winter!

Hein carefully threads the wires (both a power cable and CAT5 wiring for the cam) through the slats and chain link so it won't flop in the breeze and the owls can't mess with it.  

He had to drill a hole through the wall of the breeding pen into the flight pen so the power cord could go through.  Here he is doing the splits while drilling.  All was going well until the drill started jumping around in his hand.  He had hit a wire for the cam that views the far end of the flight pen.  Oops.

So we went into the flight pen (all but one owlet promptly left as soon as we got near) and Hein drilled from that side so he wouldn't hit any more wires.

In the meantime I was cleaning the pens while Hein was working.  Again, this owlet didn't leave when I was cleaning the flight.  It was definitely giving me the pop-eyed look of fear, but it wouldn't leave for anything.  Not sure which one it is...can you see if it has a band on the right leg (a female) or on the left leg (Patrick)????  Not with those bloomers!!!

Hein will work more on wiring tomorrow and we'll get going on the mew after we get the materials.  Always something to do!!


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