As you may or may not remember, my marito and I are now proud owners of 0,000023% of Italy.
In an effort to shamelessly brag once more, I shall now stun you with the view over our land, using a photo that is artfully designed to lend fantasy to the notion of a large, concrete, abandoned box of a house on the top of a ridge. I’ll just give you a moment to “oooh” and “aaaah” and let the jealousy settle in…
Make no mistake, this is an absolutely beautiful location. However, this romantic representation of our new old house is somewhat misleading. If one looks closely, one will note that only the foundations are historic. Built atop those stone foundations is a concrete box that does little to respect the surrounding landscape and historic location.
The subject of our renovation will, I’m sure, be a frequent one in the future. For the moment we are laying low on the subject while we discuss environmentally responsible and historically appropriate architectural possibilities with the local council, in favor of a lower profile building that will be set into the landscape.
Today, the house itself is not the subject of concern. Today we are here to address a much more significant situation.
Much in the same way that Cristoforo Colombo and Amerigo Vespucci declared The Americas in the name of their royal benefactors by sidestepping the small issue of native inhabitants, we too shall be inheriting this earth from a prior owner whose voice is too foreign and whose weapons are too small to protest.
We were’t even aware of his existence at first. It was on one of our trips to the site to take some measurements that I first noticed evidence of his activity.
(Side note: Am I the only one who had to dissect owl pellets in high school? We had to reassemble the little skeletons that we found. Ew. The primary skill I gained from that exercise was being able to identify owl pellets.)
Turning my head up from this find, I spotted a slight movement in the chimney of our new old house.
Upon closer inspection, we have identified our new friend and named him: ‘Guido the Gufo’. He is the resident tawny owl (“allocco” in Italian) who has been watching over this land for probably many years.
Our approach is this: We have taken his land without asking, and we are now responsible for his well being. Ergo, henceforth (why the heck do the mention of early explorers make me use words like “ergo” and “henceforth”?!), we shall be actively exploring solutions for Guido’s healthy and happy relocation to a nearby tree with the hopes that the construction site activity will not drive him away completely.
We have some time to work with, as we won’t be ready to start the construction site until after a lengthy design process and Sopraintendenza approval. For now, we are collecting information from websites like “Nest Boxes for Tawny Owls“, and the Wiki entry for Strix Aluco, in the hopes of gaining some insight into the proper relocation of Guido the Gufo.
If any of my dear readers have any advice, please do forward it along. My dad, an amateur experienced birdwatcher himself, has been sending me some links. But we’d love to chat with someone who has done this before.
It’s been a while since I’ve written a post that falls more on the serious side than the sarcastic, mocking side of life in Italy. What are your reactions? Dis you find it interesting? Did you like it?
10 thoughts on “Seeking advice: relocation services needed for Guido the Gufo”
so sweet … what a lovely owl! Thanks for sharing.
Oh he’s gorgeous, and a move is as good as a holiday…see if that convinces him whoot whoot x
🙂 haha. True. I could set him up with a little vacation home.
My advice (not on the lovely owl, I have no idea) would be to choose a local geometra who knows how to work with the comune.
We were allowed a couple of concessions when rebuiling our house in the mountains. We moved the site slightly and were allowed a bigger door to let in more light, and we were allowed to have glass doors.
If you look on my blog there is a category called New house in Veremoli where you can see the pile of rocks transform into a house.
Well, we are actually locally building design professionals, ourselves. So not so worried there! But thanks – I’ll check out the pile of rocks! 🙂 -M
Sorry, I didn’t realize you were experts. Our geometra was once the mayor of the comune, so he was very handy.
No worries! Yep, we’re architects (www.emuarchitects.com). But, I know exactly what you mean – a good local geometra is always a good asset, even for us. Geometras are often local boys (and sometimes even girls, though rarely!) with good connections and a good grasp of the bureaucratic web of Italian building permissions. We architects are assumed to be arrogant and impractical, despite our best efforts to prove otherwise!! 🙂 We were told just last week by a plumber on one of our projects that in 20 years, he’s never seen an architect at the site so much as us. Still… walking into a comune is another matter. We are very slowly trying to build a little reputation, but… siamo in Italia… piano piano! 🙂
Oh, he’s a lovely owl. They are hard to spot here in Sardinia but I did see a mini one one early morning. Have you found him a new home yet?
Nope, not in a big rush. We’re not starting construction right away. I think I may try to contact Lipu for some help.
He is lovely…. sigh.