Squirrels have taken over an owl box in a Livermore yard

DEAR JOAN: I was wondering about moving an owl box that I installed several years ago that is a residence for the local squirrels.

I will be moving soon and am thinking of moving the box to my neighbor’s yard. My realtor says I can leave the box where it is, but I’m not sure how squirrel-friendly the new owners will be.

My neighbor will take the box, but he does have a rambunctious dog. Will it disturb the squirrels to move the box to the yard next door?

Donna, Livermore

DEAR DONNA: Let’s start off by clearing something up. You do not have an owl box. You have a squirrel box.

I wouldn’t worry too much about the dog scaring off the squirrels. Dogs can discourage squirrels from hanging out in a yard, but most squirrels I’ve met find ways around dogs — and humans — and soon make a game of annoying the dog while having tons of fun. So I don’t think the dog will have much impact on the squirrels, although its barking might become annoying.

The biggest concern is in timing the move. While the squirrels likely can find the box in the new location, you don’t want to disturb it if the squirrels still have young in the nest. Depending on when you’ll be leaving and the new owners move in, that could be a problem, but one, I’m sure, that can be worked out.

Once the box is empty of baby squirrels, it will be OK to take it down. If your neighbor wants to reclaim it as an owl box, he has a couple of choices. He can put it in a tree, but to help keep the squirrels out, mounting it on a pole is the better option. It should be placed in a spot as far from human activity as possible and facing away from prevailing winds. There also should be a clear flight path for the owls.

DEAR JOAN: When I turn on my HP Envy 5055 printer, my 8-year-old German shepherd, no matter where he is in the house, goes bonkers, becomes upset and immediately wants to go outside. I comply. Any idea what is going on here?

Bill Gaillard, Pleasant Hill

DEAR BILL: Your dog is obviously a fan of the Canon line of printers and is telling you that an upgrade is needed.

Well, not exactly, but your shepherd is hearing something from the printer that makes him want to escape the area. Machinery and devices can emit high-pitched, ultrasonic sounds that we are incapable of hearing, but which can cause pain, discomfort or anxiety in our dogs.

I was given a device to stop my dog from barking. Every time he started yapping, it would activate. There were two problems with this. One, he still barked, but he showed signs of fear. And two, my sister had a serious cold and her coughing activated the machine, punishing my dog. Although it wasn’t causing injury to him, I didn’t like him being so scared, so it went into the donation pile and we moved on to Plan B.

For whatever reason, it would appear your printer is making the same sound. If this is a new behavior, it could be that something in the printer has changed, or something in your dog’s hearing has. Best to get him a check-up and maybe invest in a new printer.

Have a question for Joan?

Use this form. Photos should be emailed separately to jmorris@bayareanewsgroup.com.

Source: mercurynews
Squirrels have taken over an owl box in a Livermore yard