Friday, January 23, 2015

Eastern Screech Owl Nest Box and Perch Placement



Eastern Screech Owl Nest Box and Perch Placement.
The eastern Screech Owls continue their courtship around the nest box on January 22nd, this is about a month earlier than the last few years when eggs were lain around March 1st, but it has been a very mild winter and food is plentiful.

The male Screech Owl has claimed the box and now spends his nights guarding the box and hunting for food – in part to convince the female that he is a good provider. Once eggs are lain she will have to incubate them all day and most of the night and once they hatch she will be in the box 24 hours a day except for short forays out after dusk and before dawn and must depend on the male to bring food while she protects the owlets. Last year the nesting failed and three eggs were abandoned after the male stopped bringing food for some reason.

Due to habitat loss there is a serious shortage of natural tree cavities and a lot of competition and danger associated with the available natural cavities. I can not put owl nest boxes on any trees as the squirrels and snakes will take them over. With regard to owl nest box placement, I have found that the Eastern Screech Owls are not too picky as long as they feel the box is safe from other creatures and they don't have to travel too far in the open to reach it. I put the nest box under the gable end of an aluminum sided outbuilding and the entrance is about 9 feet off the ground – this should make the box safe from anything but another bird such as a Kestrel. Snakes and squirrels need not apply! You have to make sure there are no close branches that the squirrels and such can reach the building from. The owls can drop down to the camera's left to a nearby six foot wood fence behind the building and head out into the brush or go first to the Perch.

Placing a perch in front of the nest box makes a big difference in attracting the Screech Owls to nest boxes in the backyard. This perch is about 12 feet in front of the nest box and six feet off the ground. It is used as a staging area by the owls and a hunting perch. It makes the nest box much more secure and attractive to them. It is also important not to use pesticides in the backyard as that is their hunting ground and lizards, small snakes, frogs and large bugs are a big part of their diet.  Links to more information is in the info section of this video.

 Placing a perch in front of the nest box makes a big difference in attracting the Screech Owls to nest boxes in the backyard. This perch is about 12 feet in front of the nest box and six feet off the ground. It is used as a staging area by the owls and a hunting perch. It makes the nest box much more secure and attractive to them. It is also important not to use pesticides in the backyard as that is their hunting ground and lizards, small snakes, frogs and large bugs are a big part of their diet.
More Info at:
http://screech-owls.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-power-of-perch-nest-box-experiences.html
http://screech-owls.blogspot.com/2013/01/screech-owl-nest-box-time-is-here.html
http://screech-owls.blogspot.com/2012/09/transformer-screech-owls-taking.html

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