We routinely get asked, “Why don’t you do this…?”, or get told, “You should do that…” to somehow protect the owls from the surroundings they chose as their nest site. It’s been our policy from day one to merely be observers and invite you along. Aside from carefully adding the small, technical devices to aid in observation, we generally don’t do anything that might change the environment of their nest. Since we don’t know why they always choose “us”, we therefore wouldn’t know what changes made might modify their reason for their choice.

That being said, we do what we can to eliminate, or at least reduce anything that might stress or scare them. Fans from past seasons know that during nesting time, we’ve locked down the theater room where the past nest sites have been, avoiding the use of it since noises transmit through the walls. If we can “remove their awareness” of our presence at the house, we aim to do that.

This year posed a new challenge, since the nest site is on the south Juliet balcony, which resides over the front entry walkway for guests. It also provides a level view right into the large front window that lights our staircase. Given the bedrooms upstairs, our interior traffic up and down those stairs isn’t something we can compromise on. Consequently, we have been observing whether or not our use of the stairs is of issue with Altera, and it is. So for the time being, we’ve temporarily installed a black curtain that blocks her view into this window, allowing us to freely walk up and down without fear of disturbing her. Even 2yo Xavier can stomp his way up and down in seemingly-stealth mode without bothering Altera. "No comment," on the fashionability or the OSHA-compliance of the installation. | jC