Do you have a “rodent problem” that won’t go away? Housing an Owl in your yard helps keep thesesmall problems to a minimum. Because Owls usually only come out during dark hours, it is rare tosee them. However, if you have them in your yard, it’s easier to understand the true magnificenceof these night creatures.The Owl is classified as a bird of prey. Almost 140 species live around the world, except in Antarctica, with 17 species living in North America. These hunters belong to a large group of birdswith rounded heads, piercing eyes that are uniquely set in the front of its head, hooked beaks andpowerful feet with curved talons. The North American Elf owl is the smallest, the Gray owl is thelargest, the Snowy and the Great Horned owl are the most powerful. Their beautiful feathers aresoft and patterned with shades of brown, white, cream, gray or brownish-black, depending on thespecies. They use their extremely sharp sense of hearing initially, and vision, second, to huntmainly after dark. As carnivores, their diet consists mostly of rodents and small mammals such assmall birds, mice, frogs, snakes, even fish and crabs. The small owls such as the screech and saw-whet, also eat insects. They are able to be such efficient hunters because of their soft plumage andserrated wing feathers—swooping down silently on their unsuspecting prey. All of us, even children,are familiar with the owl because of its unique and mournful night time calls or ‘hoots’. They call toeach other after sunset, especially when they are courting. The calls are unique to each species—making a variety of noises from screeches and hoots to snoring sounds.Explore our OwlHouse Products NOW!
Since owls are cavity nesters and like to make their nests in old trees, woodpecker holes, buildingsor underground burrows, some will use a man-made birdhouse, if one is available. There isn’t onespecific size for all owls but, instead, each species has a different set of rules. Birdhouse sizes thatwill attract the most common owls such as:Barred owl: The birdhouse dimensions should be approximately 14” wide on all sides and 28” deep.Screech owl: House dimensions need to be roughly 8” wide on all sides and 12 inches deep.Barn owl: Make house size from 1- to 2-feet square.Wood is the most common material used to construct owl birdhouses and nesting boxes butrecycled plastic materials work well, too.
Attracting Owls to your Bird House
1. Make sure the entrance hole is round and large enough for each particular owl to enter. Keep inmind the type of owls in your area when you are looking to purchase an owl house.2. For Screech owls attach the house about 15 to 30 feet high onto the side of a building or attach itto a metal or wooden pole, a dead tree or, last choice, a live tree. (The live tree is not advisedbecause predators such as raccoons and snakes seem to visit them more.)Locate the house in an open area, near the edge of the woods or next to pastureland. Place it near a dead tree with accessible limbs so the bird can perch, eat its prey or pass it along to the nestingfemale and the young owlets.3. Place a two-inch layer of wood chips at the bottom of the bird house/nesting box to provide acomfortable spot for the female and her eggs. This nesting material acts as a cushion to keep theeggs from rolling around. 4. Place the birdhouse in a shady location so the eggs will not overheat.5. Check the nesting season for the kinds of owls in your area. Make sure to have the correct birdhouse up and waiting for them when they are ready for it.