onsdag 28 januari 2015

New nesting spot?

When we built the new aviary, we decided to take down the old platform that has served as a base for Siden and Juno's nest the last two years. As we want to use the new, adjacent aviary for the other group of ravens, we thought it would be too close to a nest which might create unnecessary aggression and unwanted stress.
Siden and Juno weren't too happy about me taking away their platform, but very quickly they adopted the new perches that I put up instead.

Old spot for the nest to the right, new nest box to the left.

We already tried a nestbox last year, and Siden and Juno started to build a nest in it, but it turned out to be too small, so they returned to their old platform where they bred successfully.

Old abandoned nest box.

New nest box.

The new box is at least twice as big as the old, and much higher. I made a plexi glass hatch in the roof, but I am not sure they will approve, and in that case it is easy to cover. In the wild, ravens nest in high trees or on cliffs, so we are not sure that Siden and Juno will like the idea of a box, but we will give it a try this year. And they have already spent some nights sitting in the opening.

As usual when you are in Siden and Juno's aviary they come down to hang out with you. Especially when you have exciting new things with you...like a camera. To get a good picture, I ran in and immedeately took a photo, which ended up like this:

Siden on his way down to me and the camera.
 And the second like this...


onsdag 21 januari 2015

New aviary

Since we have some "unused" space between the two aviaries, we decided to build a third aviary to improve the flexibility of the complex, and - most importantly - increase the ravens' living area.

The unused space in front of the runway would connect the two aviaries even more.
The problem was, that we had several studies going on before Christmas that needed to be finished, before we could start building. Juggling around with five metre long posts and big rolls of metal mesh could easily scare the ravens and interfere with the experimenting. So we waited as long as possible and settled on four days just before Christmas, which would give the ravens several weeks to calm down before Ivo, Can and Russ would be back to continue their studies.

The weather turned out to be extremely bad those days - a lot of rain and hard wind - but we were determined!

First post in place!
The constant rain was troublesome in several ways. When digging the hole for the concrete fundaments, some of them almost immideately filled with water, and the ground got extremely muddy and slippery.

Ivo, me, Mathias and Can, photographed by Russ.
Spreading lots of straw on the ground helped a little, and also made it look a litte less dull.

Ivo, Russ and Can
Since the ground was soft from all the rain, the fundaments tended to move when we leaned ladders against the posts, so every ladder had to be counterbalanced with another ladder on the other side of the post.
But it all went surprisingly well despite the weather and the shortage of time. We knew that we had to finish all the basic construction - especially the roof - before everybody left for christmas, otherwise it wouldn't be possible for me and Mathias to finish the rest of it by ourselves.

Panorama by Ivo - click to enlarge.
In the end, hard work and good spirits turned out to be enough, and we almost finished the roof before everybody left, and then the two of us had some extra days to work on walls, doors and interior material.

Panorama by Ivo - click to enlarge.
Another positive thing was the the ravens were much less effected by the building than we had anticipated. It might have helped that it was familiar people who carried around long items, hammered and drilled, but nevertheless we were greatly surprised. And it didn't take long for them to dare to check out the new place and start to play - testing the new braches and digging in the ground. However, before we can start to use it, we need to get permit from "Jordbruksverket", but hopefully that will not take long.

Thanks again Ivo, Can and Russ!