Screech owls can be an entertaining and useful addition to your backyard birding adventures. Although you may not think of owls as traditional backyard guests–unless you live on a farm that is–Screech Owls actually make great additions to your yard. These raptors are excellent at helping control the rodent and insect population around your home. During nesting season, you’ll even be able to watch the normally nocturnal mother owl standing guard at the entrance hole to your Owl House during the day.
Screech Owls are not as picky as smaller songbirds when it comes to choosing a nesting box. They make their nests in cavities created by other birds, animals and humans.
When choosing an Owl House keep in mind the dimensions of the entrance hole. The rest of the dimensions are not as important. The entrance hole should be three inches wide and approximately nine inches above the inside base.
Choose a nesting box made from natural wood like red cedar. Do not paint or adorn the box in any way.
Placing your owl box
Screech Owls prefer areas with trees and woodlands. Think parks, small groups of trees in your yard, or in an orchard. These areas provide plenty of cover and opportunity for food.
Mount the owl house on a large pole or under the overhang of a barn/shed. Make sure it is at least a dozen feet off the ground. If the house is pole-mounted, use a metal baffle around the pole to keep the nest safe from predators like raccoons.
Right habitat, right food
Screech Owls do not require humans to supplement their food supply. These excellent hunters will devour large quantities of insects, rodents and even fish. As long as the habitat is right, they will feed themselves. Your backyard nesting box is all these raptors need to live happy lives and breed.
Non-migrating birds like the Screech Owl will spend their whole lives in one area under the right conditions. By adding a nesting box or two to your property, you’ll help this enchanting and useful population thrive for years to come.