Monday, November 12, 2007

Come On A My House

Here is a draft of an ad I'm wondering where to post:

House for Rent
Available for immediate inhabitation: several residences in an up-and-coming, safe, and spacious neighborhood. Many amenities available nearby, including a variety of food and plentiful water sources. Residences are newly constructed and ideally situated for young couples interested in starting a family. Landlords will respect your right to privacy; infrequent but periodic visits will be clearly announced before peeking in to see how things are going. No mammals need apply.

The newest addition to our rental properties.
We're hoping for a Wood Duck or Hooded Merganser.

Where do you advertise to attract the avian community?

When we first moved in I put up one large box on an existing pole that held a Purple Martin house, knowing there was no chance martins would even look at our location (not near enough open space). I took down the house and swapped it for a box suitable for a Wood Duck (or screech-owl, maybe a saw-whet owl or Great Crested Flycatcher). It wasn't to be: a squirrel got there first, and I haven't been up there to clear them out yet.

We then put up a half-dozen bluebird-sized boxes. Early on I imagined we get Tree Swallows because of the pond, possibly bluebirds because they do nest on our hill, but the habitat just isn't right for either, apparently we have to many trees. Mice took the boxes in the woods (I was hoping for nuthatches or titmice), but chickadees and House Wrens use the boxes along the edges. Happily, I can report that the nest boxes we placed in earlier years have not been overtaken by exotic species: although we do see the occasional starling or House Sparrow, they don't really bother our feeder nor take up residence in our nest boxes.

This past weekend we took advantage of the warm weather (not to mention the low water level in the pond) and put up a similar box over the water - no squirrels this time! Here is the play-by-play:

I swear I'm not throwing the ladder in the pond!

Though why am I holding it over my head? If I suddenly plunge over my head, am I really scared the ladder might get wet?

Lining up the site with the ecliptic,
the outdoor equivalent to feng shui.

Actually, I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm starting to wonder if this was even me. And I think I voided the warranty on the ladder by setting it up in the pond.

Hammering the post, without falling in. That went well,
except when I dropped the hammer. The water is cold!

Don't let the fact that I'm hammering a post through water fool you: it took half a million strikes (at least, that's what my shoulder felt like) and three different locations. Rockiest damn water I've ever waded in!

Home sweet home.

Idyllic placement (we hope): a currently-shallow cove, protected from wind and predators, and us. We don't actually use the dock much, and we're hoping the pond starts to fill back in. Although, based on what's going on in the southeastern states, we're happy we still have something liquidy left in there.

Post title credit: Come On a My House (Live), Ayaka Hirahara.

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