Where’s Dobby?

All I need now is my house elf. Actually, I could really use a house elf.

Sorry for the blurry image. It’s Julien’s fault and it’s this or no image at all. But yes, it’s a barn owl, in my attic. I left one little skylight open and this guy flew in, looking for a home. Unfortunately he pooped everywhere, no manners at all, so Julien chased him out.

To judge by the quantity and locations of the poop, he spent a fair amount of time here before Julien showed up. We’re cleaning up the main room in the attic and both guest bedrooms on the first floor. These rooms have exposed beams, which are much appreciated by barn owls. I don’t know how we’ll clean them up.

I was all over the Barn Owl Trust web site. I also wrote to them and received a very nice, very helpful reply. The best guess is that he’s a young guy, looking to set up his own household. My attic would be perfect, were it not already inhabited by me. My garage does have a mezzanine that still holds a fair amount of hay. I’d love it if he’d move in there — I read that owls like hay lofts — but I haven’t seen any indication that he has.

Anyway, this has accelerated my plan to set up a little workshop in the barn. We, probably meaning Julien, have to make owl houses, which we/he will install in openings in the garage, places where the shutters are falling off their hinges. We might as well give them an upgrade. Julien has a whole degree in logistics, so he’s delighted about organizing a workshop.

So now I have Little Owls and swifts. I’m prepping for Barn Owls. The back garden has fruit trees, a kitchen garden and a meadow. The birds love the meadow. They eat the grass seed and the bugs. I read that mice will nest there, which will feed the owls — so they’d better move in. We have space designated for bees, which we will house next spring. I guess the hedgehogs are back, because I had to haul Jacques out of the far back corner yesterday evening, from the place where they lived before. There is no sign that bats have taken advantage of their bat house, but you never know. If not now, maybe later.

It’s getting pretty wild out there. Julien has three kids, the oldest around 10. I fully expect him to start organizing field trips to check out the whole setup.

12 thoughts on “Where’s Dobby?

  1. Owl houses sound a lot better than shutters falling off their hinges.
    Good luck with cleaning the beams…I remember my time up ladders with shuttering between the beams with a hoover that threatened to drah me down to destruction every timeI moved it…never again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, we’re talking owl poo here. I know from having gotten it off the floors, that stuff wants to stick! I have a nice little cordless vacuum cleaner. If only that were enough. I may just hope that no one pays much attention to whatever is above eye level. Ah, the simple wonders of country life.


  2. Clearly the owl showed up hoping that your place had cable TV (looks like he is perched right in front of the TV, a good seat to watch those nature documentaries!)



    1. He’s right too. Cable TV, solid wifi and an all-he-can-eat buffet, right outside the door. I suppose eventually he and Jacques might have reached some kind of truce. If only he could be housebroken….

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Haylofts were considered very des res by Scottish barn owl, both for roosting and rearing. We harbored many generations in ours in spite of the widespread Celtic superstition. Sadly though, one of my most vivid childhood memories is watching a neighbour’s barn fire on a cold wintry night. Stand with me, an already overly-imaginative little bookworm, awestruck by a dramatic image silhouetted against the starry night sky, wings outstretched and ablaze. That much I remember, not the aftermath. Apparently I was convinced I had seen a fallen angel, had nightmares for weeks and refused to go to Church or Sunday School lest I be punished for past misdeeds of an undetermined nature. Well meaning parental explanations that it was a late-escaping owl did not comfort me one whit. In fact, I suspect further trauma was inflicted as I was an early-onset animal lover.


    1. Oh, what a horrible experience for you and worse for the owl. For me, the nightmares would still be going on. If my barn were wood, rather than stone, I’d probably not put in the owl houses. I’d feel too strongly that I would be sending them to their deaths. Fortunately the barn is stone, with a concrete floor. Stone openings are in place, with ratty shutters just desperate, I’m sure, to become portals to connubial barn owl bliss. I read that they do indeed nest in one place throughout their lives. I can’t wait. Just in case, though, I’ll look into creating some sort of firebreak around the box, at least a one-hour separation from the barn itself.


      1. It certainly sounds like you are going above and beyond in creating a great environment. I seem to remember that they liked the hayloft and its beams for roosting while the eggs were often laid inside the trunk of an old elm tree that had been struck by lightning. Of course, French owls may well be of a more discerning nature. Look forward to the continuing saga.
        Incidentally, we had great excitement recently when a Great Horned Owl took up residence for a while in a tree on our street in Toronto much to the displeasure of the local Red-tailed Hawks. Didn’t hang around for long but starred on Instagram briefly and a spectacular Snowy Owl showed up at my horse barn last Winter, way south of normal range. As the kids say, “Nature is Lit”

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Disney Princess. You’re so nice! I was thinking more along the lines of Minerva McGonagall. I suppose she could have had her Disney princess phase, maybe half a century ago. These days, like Prof. McGonagall, I might be a little tart for that. Wait until you see the weathervane I have my eye on. Colors of the wind, indeed.


Comments are closed.