A Tale of Three Robins and a...Ferret?
Five robins, actually, including the ever-watchful parents. The Ferret we'll get to a bit later...
I had the unique opportunity to monitor a robin nest at a vacant house in St Louis. The owners were conducting extensive renovations in order to eventually rent out the place. Although contractors had routinely been in and around the property doing their work, a pair of robins felt comfortable enough to build a nest in the space between a downspout elbow and post on the front porch.
I performed a pre-renovation inspection for the investors who purchased the property, so they had a decent idea for necessary repairs. Of course, a home inspection does not take the place of municipal code and occupancy inspections with their applicable permits, but it serves as a good baseline.
While I could go into detail about the structural, functional, and safety deficiencies I found during my initial inspection, this post will simply be about spring time in St Louis and one of the many tools that I bring to my inspections. The Ferret PRO is what I used to capture these images. This camera also records video with audio which you can find on my Facebook page by clicking here if you'd like! Sorry if you were expecting a real ferret...ya know, the sock-stealing furry things.
The image below is from a recent inspection. Before using this camera, I would have had to set up a ladder in order to properly inspect first floor gutters. As you might imagine, the small camera head is on a telescoping pole. It has a flexible connection at the head to achieve whichever angle best allows me to see what I need to get "eyes-on." This saves a ton of time (as opposed to moving a ladder around the house to climb up-and-down-and-up-and-down...) and makes for a safer inspection by minimizing ladder use. While I am very comfortable on a ladder and have been on more roofs than I can remember, I will always take the opportunity to mitigate risk when possible...and my Ferret camera allows me to do just that while not sacrificing the quality of the inspection.
This camera has also allowed me to reach harder or more dangerous areas like chimney flues or second floor gutters once I was on the roof. Sometimes, when equipment or components are installed in such a way that I cannot physically get to them, the Ferret provides the access I need! Case in point - have a look at the lattice surrounding the deck below. I could sort of squat down and peer through the openings, but still could not see the ledger board or connections very well because of the angle and poor lighting. Sure, I could juggle my flashlight and camera to maybe see those critical areas better, but my compact camera on a stick makes it so much more effective.
I couldn't just remove the lattice and crawl under since it was permanently attached - but my Ferret camera provided all the access, angles, and illumination I needed to give my clients a "heads up" based on what I found. By the way...if a deck fails, it's usually catastrophic and typically (90% of the time!) happens where the deck is connected to the house.
Now...back to the robins! Below you'll find photos as I monitored the nest. While I typically wouldn't conduct extended projects like this...the property is walking distance from home so I couldn't pass up the opportunity :)
To avoid undue stress on the wild birds, I opted to monitor them from a far after I realized they hatched. When the nest was finally empty, the property owners removed it and cleaned up the area that had gathered its fair share of bug remains and bird...stuff, but we all had a good time monitoring the robin family through the spring and early summer!
Thanks for reading - I hope you'll continue following along with my blog posts as I bring valuable information and insight about the home inspection process as well as some fun content like this, when the opportunities present themselves. Call, text, or email at any time with questions or to schedule your home inspection! Don't want to miss future blog posts? Click here and subscribe at the bottom of the page! -Jon ASHI #265859 firstname.lastname@example.org 314-798-7972 *The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.