Tracy Davies, who is on the Sapra committee and is responsible for looking after the park, said, “I believe that installing an owl box is a wholesome thing to do. It’s a good addition to the park and it should help control the number of rodents at the park.”
Davies said she learned about owl boxes at the Hugh Wyndham Park Spring Day where EcoSolutions hosted a stand. She also received permission from City Parks to install the box.
“Residents have been positive about this installation and if an owl comes to make this box their home, it will be like a pet shared by the whole suburb. It could be a wonderful attraction to the area,” she added.
Sara Orchardson of EcoSolutions said the idea of installing owl boxes has become popular across Johannesburg in residential estates and private properties.
“We have so far installed 20 owl boxes in Parkhurst and hope to make the area the first poison-free precinct,” added Orchardson.
She said the EcoSolutions team identified a large tree which was away from the play area in the park to install the owl box about three metres above the ground. “The box, which is made out of recycled wood, should attract spotted eagle owls which lack breeding sites. The box is filled with a gravel substrate, which should attract the female owls.” An educational board was also installed, where people can learn more about the spotted eagle owl and the dangers of using rat poison.
Ward 117 councillor Tim Truluck, who was present on the day of the installation, said, “This installation encourages activity where people are made aware of the environment. It combines natural assets and helps keep vermin down and maintains interest in the area. It’s nice to use parks where it is safe for the animals to stay and breed. This is a lovely attraction to the area.”