On the attic of the church of Melsele (scanned pictures jan. 2001)
Here we (volunteers of the nature conservation organization) placed a nest box for the Barn owl (Kerkuil) in jan. 2000. The little square in the red door is the entrance. So far, no success. In 2000 Barn owl was still observed in the center of the town, but later on not any more. That’s not surprising, although disappointing, since Melsele lost and looses a lot of his open areas for new houses and of course the quality of the remaining open spots is low.
When I was a kid I often went up the church tower with my father, who had to wind up the mechanics of the church clock every day (for free too, he is a clock maker and as a good catholic …).
Anyway, it was one of the wonders of my childhood to watch the Barn owls glide above the upper side of the church domes in the dark galleries.
It was one of my childhood traumas to see four Barn owls lying down dead on the wooden attic floor one day. The bell-ringer of the church kept pigeons there and thought Barn owls ate pigeons. In those days shooting a Barn owl could be done unpunished.