OWL BIRDHOUSES

Do you have a “rodent problem” that won’t go away? Housing an Owl in your yard helps keep these small problems to a minimum. Because Owls usually only come out during dark hours, it is rare to see them. However, if you have them in your yard, it’s easier to understand the true magnificence of 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 birds with rounded heads, piercing eyes that are uniquely set in the front of its head, hooked beaks and powerful feet with curved talons. The North American Elf owl is the smallest, the Gray owl is the largest, the Snowy and the Great Horned owl are the most powerful. Their beautiful feathers are soft and patterned with shades of brown, white, cream, gray or brownish-black, depending on the species. They use their extremely sharp sense of hearing initially, and vision, second, to hunt mainly after dark. As carnivores, their diet consists mostly of rodents and small mammals such as small birds, mice, frogs, snakes, even fish and crabs. The small owls such as the screech and sawwhet, also eat insects. They are able to be such efficient hunters because of their soft plumage and serrated 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 to each 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 Owl House Products NOW! Owl Houses Since owls are cavity nesters and like to make their nests in old trees, woodpecker holes, buildings or underground burrows, some will use a man-made birdhouse, if one is available. There isn’t one specific size for all owls but, instead, each species has a different set of rules. Birdhouse sizes that will 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 but recycled 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 in mind 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 it to a metal or wooden pole, a dead tree or, last choice, a live tree. (The live tree is not advised because 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 nesting female and the young owlets. 3. Place a two-inch layer of wood chips at the bottom of the bird house/nesting box to provide a comfortable spot for the female and her eggs. This nesting material acts as a cushion to keep the eggs 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 bird house up and waiting for them when they are ready for it.

6. A slanted roof is necessary so that rainfall is directed away from the birdhouse. Another good feature for nesting birds is a ledge just below the entrance to the birdhouse. This provides the young owls with added protection from falling out of the nest. If you welcome owls into your neighborhood, these excellent hunters will keep the rodent population in check, as well as providing your yard with color and movement. And what could be more exciting than seeing an owl’s face up close? Or, even better, it’s your chance to watch a few, fuzzy chicks learning the ropes from their parents! Owls generally don’t migrate, so once they make themselves at home, you should have them around all year. Tip: The Northern Saw-whet owl is prevalent in northern, coniferous pine forests. It is a very small owl that only measures from 7-8” in length. Tip: Listen for the scratchy, hissing screech of the Barn owl. It is a cavity nester that prefers to roost in dark buildings in city or country, in trees or on cliffs. Tip: For Screech owls: Place the birdhouse/nesting box near a woodland area that has large trees —farther from human activity. The nesting screech owls are very protective and have been known to swoop down on people or pets that get too close to their nests. Tip: The Screech owl, one of the smaller owls, matures to between 7” and 10” tall. Its call can be a short number of mellow-sounding hoots. But many times, it emits an eerie cry that is loud and frightening—considering it comes from such a small bird. The call is fairly easy to imitate and sometimes, you will get a reply!

We hope this information is helpful to you in your search for the perfect Owl house. Home & Garden Essentials is dedicated to offering customers an extensive list of high quality products and helpful tips that will turn your backyard into bird-friendly habitats. As an online wild bird store, we wish to supply you with a superb selection of bird feeders and birdhouses—accompanied by an abundance of birding accessories.

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