Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wood duck box... a box, made of wood, made for a wood duck

So today I tramped around a ranch and got myself thoroughly muddy.  And more than mud, there were cowpies every few feet.  I visited a ranch to help take care of some birdhouses a conservation group had put up on their property.  Other than the stepping in cowpie every few feet, it was actually a lot of fun.  The basic proceedure was simple.  Open up the birdhouse, remove all accumulated debris, replace with fresh wood shavings, close birdhouse.  In reality it involved coming face to face with an owl, climbing and bracing ladders, sneaking around barbed wire fences, avoiding camouflaged electric fences, pondering the bleached bones of bovines and rodents, and knocking birdhouses off trees and crossing my fingers that old rotten eggs wouldn't land on me as they fell.

Some of the birdhouses were placed so high on the trees that nobody could get to them to do proper maintenance, so we had to take them down and reinstall them and heights normal people could get at.  But the bolts used to install them had sunken into the trees so you couldn't get at them with a wrench.  So it involved a lot of wrenching, drilling, shoving them with logs, and levering them off the trees.  The Eagle Scouts who built these tree boxes deserve some credit, the bird houses took the abuse and survived to be installed at a new height.  But when it comes down to it, I like plastic wood duck boxes better than wood wood duck boxes.

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