Darke County Park District’s new mew almost ready to house three raptors


GREENVILLE — Darke County Park District Naturalist Kathi McQueen said the new mew looks beautiful.

In falconry, a mew is a birdhouse designed to house one or more birds of prey. These birds are characterized by keen vision that allows them to detect their prey during flight, and powerful talons and beaks. The approximately $9,700 grant-funded project took about three months. The structure will house at least three birds, including “Greta”, a blind Great horned owl. According to McQueen, Darke County Park District Volunteer Jim Poeppelman graciously spearheaded the project, located at Shawnee Prairie Preserve and Nature Center, in Greenville, Ohio.

“Jim took it to another level,” McQueen said. “Most of the time when you see a raptor mew like that, it is thrown together and it is usually some two by fours and some mesh. That is really a work of love.”

According to Poeppelman, the facility was constructed by all volunteers. The work involved the following: renting and operating a backhoe to dig the footer; setting the forms for the footer foundation; pouring concrete for the footer/foundation; framing the wooden structure; installing the siding and the roof; staining the siding; lining the inside of the bird pens with tongue and groove siding; lining the handling area with a washable Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) board; building the inside doors and installing the hardware on the doors; installing the screen on the inside of the openings of the bird pens; building the shutters for the bird pen openings and installing them and installing the entrance doors. Not all of the material for the building was purchased new. All of the roofing and some of the wood framing was salvaged from old buildings belonging to the district, Poeppelman said.

“This was a new challenge and different from any other building I worked on,” Poeppelman said. “Part of it was open to the birds, part open to the air and part closed and roofed. I worked with really good people. The staff at the park was very congenial and we shared ideas. That was the best part for me; the staff and the volunteers.”

Darke County Park District Commissioner Tina White said Poeppelman showed a “labor of love” in constructing the mew.

“He actually designed it too,” White said. “He worked with Kathi (McQueen) and the rest of the Park District to make sure it suited the needs of the birds we are going to house there. We appreciate everything he has done.”

Darke County Park District Director Roger Van Frank said Mote & Associates, Inc. also contributed to the project.

“Once again, Mote & Associates has shown their community involvement with local projects,” he said. “Their assistance in the acquisition of engineering permits needed to build the facility has proven to be invaluable.”

Finalizing touches on the mew will include electrical work by the park district’s Park Maintenance Supervisor Wayne Nichols and an inspection. McQueen said the district will then inform agencies, such as the Glen Helen Raptor Center, know it is seeking birds to house in the mew.

“If they have a bird they can’t release and nobody wants it, they have to put it down,” McQueen said. “In that case, we will be contacted. I am excited to get some more raptors on board. We will take smaller raptors into the classrooms and incorporate more raptor programs into the schools.”

.neFileBlock {
margin-bottom: 20px;
}
.neFileBlock p {
margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
}
.neFileBlock .neFile {
border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa;
padding-bottom: 5px;
padding-top: 10px;
}
.neFileBlock .neCaption {
font-size: 85%;
}

Pam Siegel, of Greenville, was the volunteer at the Darke County Park District, with the highest number of hours, clocking 626 over the last year. She said her favorite project has been reading to “Greta”, a blind Great horned owl that lives in Shawnee Prairie Preserve and Nature Center’s mew. She has been reading children’s books to her everyday for four years. From left to right: Pam Siegel and “Greta”.
http://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_mew.jpgPam Siegel, of Greenville, was the volunteer at the Darke County Park District, with the highest number of hours, clocking 626 over the last year. She said her favorite project has been reading to “Greta”, a blind Great horned owl that lives in Shawnee Prairie Preserve and Nature Center’s mew. She has been reading children’s books to her everyday for four years. From left to right: Pam Siegel and “Greta”.

The Darke County Park District is putting finishing touches on its new mew. In falconry, a mew is a birdhouse designed to house one or more birds of prey. The structure, pictured, will house at least three birds, including “Greta”, a blind Great horned owl. The mew is located at Shawnee Prairie Preserve and Nature Center, in Greenville.
http://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_mew1.jpgThe Darke County Park District is putting finishing touches on its new mew. In falconry, a mew is a birdhouse designed to house one or more birds of prey. The structure, pictured, will house at least three birds, including “Greta”, a blind Great horned owl. The mew is located at Shawnee Prairie Preserve and Nature Center, in Greenville. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

By Carolyn Harmon

charmon@dailyadvocate.com

The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.