Byron Rushing and a Techline crew, subcontractors with Grayson Collin Electric Co-op, “light” -ened the task of installing owl nest boxes at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge this week. This summer, a Friends of Hagerman volunteer built nest boxes for Screech Owls, Barn Owls and Barred Owls with materials provided by the Refuge. Four Screech Owl boxes and four Barn/Barred Owl boxes were built. Now, thanks to GCEC, all the owl boxes have been placed from 12’ to 14’ off the ground, to meet the owls' nesting needs and allow for monitoring. On Monday of this week, Bryan Fish, Bryan Fish, Jr., Dwyane (Hoot) Jones, Jr., and Ron Griffin from Techline moved poles taken down in the process of re-routing power lines for the new Visitor Center/Administration complex at the Refuge, drilled holes and set the poles in place with the owl nest boxes attached (shown in photo), at the recommended heights.
Visitors to the Refuge will probably not see the owl boxes, as most of them are placed away from public use areas. In order for the Barred Owls to use the nest box, the boxes must be placed at least a mile apart, and in a wooded area. The Barn Owl’s territorial size is just the area around the nest box, and their boxes are placed in open prairie at the Refuge, their preferred habitat. Screech Owls’ habitat is at the edge of woods, and their territory, like that of the Barn Owl, is the area around the nest. Whether the nest boxes are visible to visitors or not, be assured that thanks to GCEC and Techline’s support for the Refuge and the Friends, this project will encourage growth in the owl population of the area.
The official site for information about Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge is http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/texas/hagerman/index.html and for information about activities and events, see http://www.friendsofhagerman.com.