An Amazing Owl Nest Box

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Nic Korte, an excellent owler out West who was so helpful for
The Screech Owl Companion, writes:

Non-native Fox Squirrels have recently arrived in one area and have taken over all the boxes. Fox Squirrels are a total novelty to WESOs [Western Screech Owls] and we were chagrined to find them. 
 
We replaced the boxes in this one area this spring with the box design shown in the photo. We probably replaced them too late this year for WESOs to use.
 
Of course, that is not a Screech Owl in the photo, but a Ferruginous Pygmy Owl. Friends of mine in Costa Rica have found this design effective. 
 
Thanks, Nic!

The Turtles Thank You!

Eastern Box Turtle IMG_2283
 A big thank you to all the drivers who looked out for turtles along Franklin Turnpike by the Celery Farm  in the past month, and a big thank you to the Allendale Police Department for putting up the sign.

  The sign was there not just to protect turtles but also motorists who might need to swerve to avoid hitting a large snapping turtle as it crossed the road.

   Now that breeding season is over, I can post this shot of an Eastern Box Turtle who had just about made it across the road when I encountered it. These are some of the most beautiful turtles in the world, and it’s nice to know that I live in a town that cares about these guys and their cousins. Their ancestors have lived here long before humans drove cars.

   My neighbor took this photo of a Snapping Turtle below that had just crossed the road, likely after laying eggs.

  The box turtle is the size of a softball, and the snapper is the size of Roomba.

Snapper IMG_9629


Monday Mystery Answered

On Monday I said...

A friend writes: “When I sat down on the red bench by the door to Lee Memorial Library, I saw this nest above it.” It apparently is some sort of bee/wasp/hornet/ yellowjacket nest. What is it? And should it be left alone or what? 

A big thanks to Jim Molzan for IDing the nest. It is the nest of a mud wasp, a.k.a. a mud dauber wasp. 

The wasps are benfefcial are harmless if keft alone.

More on mud dauber wasps here:

https://yardandgarden.extension.iastate.edu/encyclopedia/mud-dauber-wasp