World, meet Tulip Anderson.
Tulip is a red phase Eastern Screech Owl that came with the house. We bought our house with a number of fine amenities, including but not limited to a resident owl. I can watch Tulip's box from the window in the study while I work on the computer.
We're not 100% sure of his/her gender. I'm personally convinced that she's a girl due to the fact that baby owlet faces peep out of the little hole in the springtime. We all refer to her as a "him" for some odd reason though.
He (see?) usually disappears in the spring after the owlets are hatched and ready for takeoff, and he comes back when the weather gets cool again. Last year, Tulip didn't show up until Christmas. We were scared because this past spring we found a large, dead bird of prey in the bushes near his tree. It was face down and partially covered with leaves so we couldn't tell if it was Tulip or not. DH says never touch a dead bird, so we scooped it up with a shovel and buried it in the woods. We were all a little sad in case our friend was gone for good.
I was so surprised and HAPPY when I saw Tulip's little face peeking out at me a few weeks ago! We saw him on and off for about a week... and then... The Squatter moved in. My first clue was when I noticed something odd - there was a little green leaf poking out of the owl box hole. Hmm, curious. Then more greenery. Double hmm. Then one day the Messy One shouts "Hey, look! There's a squirrel going into in Tulip's nest!" Hmmh. How did he get past the metal shields? Time to clean house.
DH is in charge of all that natureish wildlife type of stuff, so it's his job to de-squirrel the owl box. He's an animal husbandry kind of guy anyway, in fact he was in 4-H with Holly Hunter (yes, that Holly Hunter) way back when and they were in a chicken judging contest together. What's involved in a chicken judging contest you might ask? Among other things, feeling it's butt bones to see if it has good egg laying potential. Predictably we have a joke around here about chicken butts. Yes, I know it's lame, but it's a location joke: you have to be there to think it's funny. OK, getting back on track (did I mention I think I'm ADD?).
My Dear Husband(ry guy) and the kids get ready to clean out the owl box and jettison the squirrel nest. DH gets on a ladder with a hoe and starts opening the box.
I'm in the house standing at the study window, camera in one hand and phone in the other, ready to call 911 if DH falls off the ladder. Now I know you're thinking "Oh ye of little faith". Yep, that's me, but I made it to all the way up to Senior Girl Scout and my motto is Be Prepared (and document it on film.) No chicken ifs ands or butts here.
Turns out I should have been more worried about a crazed squirrel attack. Indubitably.
Mr. Squirrel came home to find an eviction notice and his naugahyde loveseat and black & white TV on the curb. What a racket he made! All I could picture was those old cartoons where the squirrel is so pissed off at someone that he starts going "aiaiaiaia aiaiaiai" and starts shaking its fist at the offending person. The squirrel wasn’t happy about being ousted, but he was trespassing. I guess he didn't read the sign. There are plenty of trees and several bazillion acorns around here so I'm pretty confident that he's now shacked up with some little hottie squirrel and is getting ready to chill out for the winter in his new digs.
We haven't seen Tulip since we first became aware of the problem and spotted the suspicious greenery. I hope he comes back to his nice clean house soon.
Keep your talons crossed.