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[TowerTalk] ospreys & barn owls

To: "towertalk reflector" <>
Subject: [TowerTalk] ospreys & barn owls
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2006 17:22:05 -0400
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I am really enjoying this discussion that combines both towers and wildlife, 
two of my main interests!

We used to have (before arsonists burned it down but that's okay we got a 
reasonable insurance payment) a 30-foot-high boat shed with "observation tower" 
at our hunting club on Maryland's Eastern Shore.  It had an 8x8' room at the 
top, windows all around, most of the window panes broken out.  One year W3IO 
and I went to do Field Day up in that room, but inside the darkened boat shed, 
as we went up the rickety wooden stairs, we about jumped out of our shirts when 
confronted with a loud H-I-I-I-S-S-S-S-S-S from a couple barn owl parents with 
four barn owl babies.  They had their nest on the landing halfway up the steps. 
 One adult barn owl went flying past us down the steps and out of the building, 
leaving the several others with wing/shoulders hunched up, head and neck held 
low, rocking left and right, all hissing.  I for one was intimidated, "Let's 
get outta here!!"  First time I've ever seen a real, live, barn owl; they're 
impressive birds.  Due to their reclusive and noctur
 nal nature, owls are not often seen by "boys" from the suburbs like me, even 
if we have "country" aspirations -- like me.

By the next year the owls had moved on and WA2DFI, W3MC and I did FD from that 
room, and it was pretty cool.  By the year after that the building was just a 
smudge of black soot on the ground.  But, when we designed our own house and 
had it built, we put an 8x8 room up on the peak of the roof very much like that 
one.  We like it, though we have the oddest house "in these parts."  That's 
okay -- it's my house so it's appropriate if it's odd.

Tie in to towertalk:  the propensity of all these birds, from ospreys to turkey 
vultures, to purple martins, 200 at a time, to perch on towers is evidence that 
ham antennas and towers actually provide beneficial "structure" to the 
environment and benefit wildlife, even protected species like barn owls. We 
should make a master list of all these examples for when someone brings up the 
subject of alleged "harm" to the environment and wildlife.

73 - Rich, KE3Q

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