Sunday, June 28, 2015

Why Does A Nestbox Lid Have a Metal Edge?

Three nestboxes for owls from Hollow Log Homes

Why do the lids have a metal edge?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Enriching Habitat

As well as ten nest-boxes for owls, we have put up fourteen boxes for other hollow nesting birds and animals. About 20% of Australian wildlife are Obligate Hollow Users, meaning they don't nest or breed if they don't have hollows.

Owlet Nightjar in Existing Nestbox
Locally, among the birds, we have 6 owl species using nest hollows - boobook owls, barn owls, masked owls, sooty owls, barking owls and powerful owls. Of the parrots we have rosellas, rainbow lorikeets, scaly-breasted lorikeets,  Australian king parrots, yellow-tailed black cockatoos. We do also have white cockatoos and pink-and-grey galahs, both of which may be relative newcomers, but have made themselves at home in the Byron Shire. Then, still among the birds, there are kookaburras, kingfishers, wood ducks, owlet nightjars and pardalotes.

Family of gliders in Existing Nest-box
Mammal species using hollows are mostly nocturnal and include possums and gliders, carnivorous marsupials, micro-bats and rats.

This type of ants normally glue two large leaves together to make their nest.
Insects using hollows include Australian stingless bees as well as feral European honey bees, and ants.

These more common ants may be evicted if I have my way. 
Some of the places where we installed nest-boxes already had some, and these were added to the monitoring program. We decided to start the monitoring program with a baseline interior shot. Four of the boxes added to the program were occupied, see the photos for their occupants.

Friday, April 24, 2015

More Owl Hollows Going Up

A number of the installed nest-boxes for owls have been named this week.
The Hill-Hewitt Owl Hollow: Sophy Millard with a helping hand

The Hill-Hewitt Owl Hollow is mounted in a Flooded Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis) in an area of old remnant trees in un-grazed grassland at Tyagarah near the coast, twenty metres from a flowing stream. There a number of National Parks and Reserves nearby.

The Brown-Mouse Owl Hollow: Being checked for its nesting materials, 15 metres up in the tree. 

The Brown-Mouse Owl Hollow has been installed in a Spotted Gum (Corymbia maculata) at a height of 15 metres. In an area of wet sclerophyll regrowth in the ranges backing Byron Shire, the property is near Jerusalem National Park.

Ryan's Owl Hollow: The box up in the Flooded Gum
Ryan’s Owl Hollow has been installed in a Tallow wood (Eucalyptus microcorys) at a height of 9 metres. With patches of wet sclerophyll regrowth among cleared lawns and gardens, this property abuts Jerusalem National Park in the ranges encircling Byron Shire. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Owl Nest-Box Number Four!

We've been having some exciting action on the Nest-boxes for Owls Project this week. 

Sophy Millard, Owl Nestbox Project Officer with Nick Sanderson climbing, preparing to install Nest-box Number 4 in a tallow-wood at Wilson's Creek.
Sophy Millard & Nick Sanderson, photo by R Hartlieb

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Our First Owl Nestbox is Up!

Nestbox at Thompson's Hollow

We celebrated the installation of our first nest-box for owls with a re-planning session.

This one is four metres high, a lot lower than we originally thought necessary. Liaising with Southern Cross University's Natural Resources also working on a nest-box monitoring program, we discovered the possibility of the lower heights.

If the experts tell us owls are not so fussy, maybe just happy to get a hollow, we'll give that a go. The positives are too good to ignore.

a) The lower cost leading to greater numbers of nest-boxes b) The real possibility for landholders and nest-box guardians to get involved in the monitoring program.
c) Needing only a four metre ladder to get up to them, monitoring is a lot cheaper as well.

Point a) had us realising we'd be able to advance the program to a stage 2 situation right away.

Originally we thought we'd do use the POZIBLE crowdfunding support primarily for the first stage, getting from 6-10 nest-boxes for owls installed and monitoring them.

Stage Two ... who knew. It was still in the future.

But now, due to the funds suddenly being available, we're running the two stages alongside one another. We've ordered a bunch of varied nest-boxes, suitable for other hollow-nesting species to enrich our owl habitat.

We're inspecting our properties with the intention of 'playing monopoly' at some of them, by putting in the varied species nest-boxes. These places, as you can imagine will need some special characteristics. Not just a couple of tall trees, but a few hectares of forest. Not just a farm dam, but a proper wetland-woodland situation.

'Varied species' might include a box suitable for feathertail gliders (a type of possum), boxes suitable for small birds, kingfishers, and micro-bats.

As yet empty and unused nestbox at Thompson's Hollow