About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

October is the perfect time to put up an owl house

Screech Owls can begin looking for potential nesting sites as early as January so they will be ready to nest in March and April. This makes October the perfect time to put up a Screech-Owl box before the weather turns bad.

But these boxes aren't just for nesting. Studies also show that owls roost frequently in boxes and tree cavities on rainy or snowy days. Fall is the time there are a lot of first year owls leaving their parents and moving to new territories. Night creatures go largely unseen, so people are often surprised to learn that they might have owls as neighbors. Now is the time to prepare your yard.

The diminutive Eastern Screech-Owl is a year-round resident in mid-Michigan even though you may never see them. Most screech-owls sleep away the daylight hours snuggled safely inside a tree hollow or man-made nest box. The noise of mobbing hordes of chickadees or squawking Blue Jays can alert you to an owls presence. Or at night you can listen for their eerie "horse-whinny" and spooky trills.

Screech-Owls have a varied diet that can include small rodents, insects, worms, fish or birds. The 8-9" owls do not catch or kill anything larger than they can handle, and they are not fierce predators so they have no interest in attacking humans, dogs, or cats.

Placement of your nest box is important. The rooftop needs to be at least 10 feet above the ground on a tree that has a branch that owlets can perch on while they learn to fly. Select a more open side of the tree so the owls can swoop up to the hole without trying to fly through branches and leaves. Face the entrance in any direction except to the north where cold winter breezes are not welcome. Owls don't bring in nesting material so it is best if you line the bottom of the box with cedar shavings to cushion the eggs. And place it away from sidewalks, since the owls defend their nests vigorously against perceived threats and, some adults may swoop down to scare away people or pets who wander too close to their fledglings. 

Related Articles:
- Snowy Owls http://bit.ly/ylJmQq
- Eastern Screech Owl http://bit.ly/wMQBZj
- Great Horned Owl http://bit.ly/zmlFqY
- Barred Owl http://bit.ly/yAoDx8
- Great Gray Owl http://bit.ly/tAewYm
- Fun Facts on Owls http://bit.ly/z9q3Dg

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