Hearing the doleful hooting of an owl just after the sun sets can cause excitement in bird lovers. There are only 19 species of owls in the United States and their predatorial nature makes them good at hiding, so they are rarely seen.
Because many owls depend on specific habitats for their survival, things like pesticides and human interference have created a decline in 1/3 of the owl species. Just because you aren’t an ornithologist or owl scientist, doesn’t mean you can’t help. The solution is an owl nesting box.
Owl nesting boxes are easy to build and can attract owls to your backyard, with the right placement. Unsure where to start with your nesting box? Continue reading to find out more about your box for optimal owl use.
What Is a Nesting Box?
In the wild, many owls create their nests inside dying trees or large cavities. Some like to burrow while others create their nests in overhangs on small mounds or hills. Because of the destruction of natural habitats, many owls have had to adapt where they place their owl nest.
A nesting box is a small wooden box with a hole in the center. Depending on the type of owl you have, the hole might be larger or smaller. Owls like a hole that is large enough for them to enter and exit with ease, but small enough that predators can’t get in.
If you are building your own box, adding a metal ring around the entrance hole can keep predators from chewing at the wood to gain access to the young inside. The entrance hole should also be high enough that the owlets can’t fall out as they move around and play.
If you need help choosing the right box for your type of owl, many companies sell them. You can see from this site, there are lots of options to choose from.
Where to Place Your Box
Your box should be placed in a sheltered spot, where it won’t get blown around. If your box wiggles a lot, owls won’t feel secure and may leave.
For more warmth, they should also be placed facing south. You will want to place the box at least 10-15 feet off the ground and keep objects out of any flight path to the box. Large branches, sheds, and clotheslines will impede the owls.
Place perches nearby if you don’t have any natural ones on your property. Growing your grass a little longer than usual could increase the food supply and make your yard desirable.
Too much lighting on your property will keep owls from nesting as well. They are nocturnal hunters and prefer the dark.
How to Check for Success
When an owl is nesting, they tend to be very territorial and will stay close by. You may hear their calls at night much closer, and if you see an owl in your yard regularly, chances are your box is in use.
Avoid contact with the box. You can always set up a bird cam inside the box before you place it to watch them grow.
An Owl Nesting Box Is Fun for the Whole Family
Now that you know the basics of an owl nesting box, make sure you include your entire family. Watch your kid’s eyes light up when they can put an animal with the sounds they hear. Taking part in this project will also help them become better owl protectors.
Did you enjoy what you read? Read more like it from our Animals section.