It’s been a while! I have birded a few times and gone to some cool places over the past month, including the Deetz Nature Preserve in the town of New Haven where I got a long overdue lifer/nemesis in Black-throated Blue Warbler for green bird #152. I also picked up Blackpoll (#153) and Bay-breasted (#154) on that trip to further pump up the list. It is also less than five miles from my new house, which will make it ideal to visit on a Five Mile Radius list that I hope to do next year in addition to all the green birding.
I also did something that I don’t often do and attended a group hike at Eagle Marsh with the local Audubon chapter. I biked there too and made four late Semipalmated Sandpipers green bird #155. Additionally, I was solicited to be on the board of that group because, and I quote, “we need people who aren’t 80.” I probably don’t have the time needed to commit to that, but it was a cool thing to be asked.
Much of the in between time in October was spent yard birding, and I added four species to the list to bring the total to 53 species.
I had a mixed flock of warblers fly through earlier in the month with many Magnolia Warblers, which were new, and several Nashville Warblers, which were the only ones willing to sit still enough to document. I also had Rock Pigeon, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and Barred Owl (on Halloween!) to round out the month. Still no juncos, though.
Speaking of owls in the yard, last weekend I took Walter to Lowe’s to have him help me with a father-son birding project. I decided that we would build a Screech Owl box and put it up in the big maple in our back yard.
Walter was game to help me measure everything out and then proceeded to spend almost an hour using the tape measure on everything else in the garage. For this, The Internet told us that a good box could be made from a single board of 10 inches by 8 feet. They didn’t have cedar, so I chose untreated pine.
I have spent all of my money on bike, binocular, and camera gear (and okay, some Legos), which means that I do not own the stereotypical dad power tools. This owl box was strictly rustic with all cuts made by hand. I figure the owls will appreciate edges that are a little rough.
I also don’t own a hole saw. So the entrance hole is rustic too. I took my largest drill bit and just chiseled chunks out of it, with some finishing touches from the generic, lowercase-D dremel.
Both kids helped me gather some pine needles to line the bottom of the box, and it was hung about 15 feet high in our tree. Eastern Screech Owl would be a state bird for me, but I am optimistic that this will be how I get my Indiana bird.
Building this thing was way easier than I thought it would be. Even if you are a rookie like me and lacking in tools, it is definitely worth it to make one from scratch rather than shell out $60 to buy one premade. Whether or not it actually works remains to be seen, but rest assured I will be live-blogging about it whenever an owl does decide to move in.