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Cleaning out the owl boxes

Posted by Rosemoor Garden on 26 Mar 2009 at 10:58 AM

Here at Rosemoor we have a variety of boxes to encourage wildlife into the garden and surrounding woodland. These include boxes for dormice and owls. Whilst the dormouse boxes can only be touched by those licensed to do so, the owl boxes can be maintained by the staff here.

So, with the owl nesting boxes in need of a bit of a clean out and with a fine day in prospect, I got the perfect opportunity to do a bit of climbing. This involved getting the harness on and using the ropes to ascend a large oak tree (Quercus robur) in the Upper Woodland, where one of the owl boxes is situated.


The use of the climbing harness is very handy when there are no lower branches within reach as it makes it possible for you to propel yourself upwards.

Once up the tree to the right height, it was a case of setting up a second system of ropes, to get across horizontally to where the box was positioned. Whilst I knew in my head that I was safe (attached to two systems of ropes) it still felt a leap of faith to step off my nice sturdy oak branch into thin air and hang, suspended, like an overgrown spider in the middle of its web…

Having managed to get over to the right side of the tree, I tentatively opened the lid of the box (last year my colleague found a dead squirrel so I was trying to prepare myself) but there was nothing but dead leaves. I gave the box a clean out and retraced my steps back down to terra firma.

Great fun – but then I always was a fan of Spiderman!

Lindsay Schuman, Student


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