Last week marked the beginning of a new journey for WVV as we hung the first of 6 barn owl nesting boxes and 6 kestrel nesting boxes around the vineyard. Talks of adding these special feathered friends has been a long time coming and a dream of Jim Bernau's for a very long time. After a visit from Louise Shimmel, Executive Director, Cascades Raptor Center in Eugene, things really started to come together and a plan was formulated for future owl and kestrel homes around the vineyard.
|Randy Hillyer and Joe Perez shake hands after the |
successful installation of a kestral nest box.
Joe Perez, one of our all-star volunteers, agreed to build the 6 owland kestrel boxes. As of this week, 2 owl nesting boxes and 2 kestrel boxes have been built and placed around the property. The program has received such positive feedback from employees and guests alike we are now in planning-mode to possibly add nesting boxes at our Tualatin Estate and EltonVineyards. Thank you Joe for all your hard work. You are truly a master of woodworking.
The kestrel weighs around just 4 ounces and is the smallest falcon in North America. A kestrels typical hunting behaviour is to hover at a height of around 30-60ft over open country and swoop down on prey consisting typically of mice, bats and large insects. Kestrels do not build their own nests, but use nests built by other species which is one reason they have adapted well to nest box programs. We are eager towatch these beautiful animals flourish here at the vineyard.
To learn more about the Americal Kestrel visit: Click Here
The Barn Owl is pale, long winged, long legged and bares a short squarish tail. A healthy female weighs in around 19 ounces while the males are often about 10% lighter in weight. The face is light in color and resembles a heart shape with black eyes giving the flying bird an odd yet startling appearance. The owl is nocturnal but often becomes active shortly before dusk. It is not uncommon to see a Barn owl during the day but this is only the case when looking for a new home. These owls prefer to hunt by flying slow and low over an area of open ground, hovering over spots that conceal potential prey. They may also use fence posts or perches in trees to ambush prey. On average an individual Barn Owl will eat 1-2 rodents per night. A pair of owls and their young typically will consume more than 1,000 rodents per year.
To learn more about the Barn Owl visit:Click Here
The grand idea for the WVV raptor project started as a means to keep rodent populations down within the vineyard. Rodents will sometimes dig down around the vines which can cause root damage. With the effort to keep our vines healthy, we are finding that people are both interested and supportive of adding more wildlife in and around the vineyard for sheer enjoyment so this project is a win-win for everyone.
There have been a number of people involved in this very special project and WVV wants you to know how much we appreciate you!
We want to extend a huge THANK YOU to Louise Shimmel from the Cascade Raptor Center for her guidance and continued support in helping us get off on the right foot with our project. Her contact information is listed below if you have questions regarding a raptor project.
Executive Director, Cascades Raptor Center
Stay in touch with Cascades Raptor Center:
On our Blog - the Talon: http://eraptors.wordpress.com/
On Twitter: http://twitter.com/raptortweets
Become a CRC fan on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/eRaptors
Kudos and a big THANK YOU to Joe Perez, our amazing friend and volunteer at WVV. He is truly talented and gifted in the art of woodworking and we could not have done this without him. The nesting boxes he has built are beautiful.
If you'd like to build your own Barn Owl nesting box visit:Click Here
If you'd like to build your own kestrel nesting box visit:Click Here
We hope to have our new feathered friends in their homes sometime in late spring or early summer. Stay tuned for more updates as the WVV raptor project unfolds.