Hoooooooo, me? I’m just sitting here waiting for an owl to roost. In my new owl box.
If I’m gonna get anywhere with this whole owl thing, I’m gonna have to hang the owl box outside I guess. This beauty has been sitting on my dining room table for a month and the only thing it has attracted is dust and suspicious glances from my cats.
The owl box was sent to me by a reader who thought I’d like it. She knows my weakness. Animals with feathers that eat mice. Owls even have the added distinction of barfing up tiny bones after their dinner so they’re pest control and Halloween decoration providers all rolled into one. Not even goats can claim that.
Two things have stopped me from hanging the owl box. Thinking it was going to be difficult to hang and thinking I liked how it looked right here in my house. Even with the dust.
Dry leaves go into the bottom of the box.
But I decided if I was going to do this I had to do it now because in this area Screech Owls (this is a Screech Owl box) start looking for nests from February to April. Owls are always looking for possible nesting places, but making sure you have one up during mating increases your chances of getting an owl in your box on account of the fact that they prefer home births. And therefore need a comfy home.
So let me answer a few questions you probably already have.
- Aren’t you afraid the screech owls will eat your chickens? No. Screech owls are tiny owls. They’re the same height as a starling, but way fatter. I mean rotunder. If anything, the screech owl should be afraid of my miserable chicken Baby.
- Won’t the screeching become annoying? You know, cause Screech Owls screech. No. Oddly, they don’t really screech. The noise Screech owls make sounds more like a horse whinny.
- I LOVE THIS! I WANT ONE! ARE SCREECH OWLS IN MY AREA? Probably. They breed around most of North America.
- What’s with the handful of leaves? That’s the one and only thing you have to do to prep your owl box. Put a few inches of dry leaves or pine shavings in the bottom of the box. Then you hang it.
As it turns out, hanging an owl box is simple. If you order a pre-made one like this it’ll come with the screws you need. Mine even included a couple of brackets to make it extra secure if I wanted. I’m not sure what about this I thought was going to be hard.
Hang the owl box from 10 – 30 feet high. I have NO idea how you’d get it 30 feet high but that’s an option for you if say, your legs are 20 feet long.
To hang the box, I propped the ladder against my maple tree and rested the Owl Box on the top rung while I screwed the first screw in. That way I didn’t have to worry about holding the box up and I could keep one hand on the ladder while I attached it.
If your tree is old and gnarly like mine you might have to make a few adjustments while you hang the box. Bark was in the way so I had to bang some of it off for the box to lay flatter against the trunk. And because of the way the trunk is shaped only the very top and the very bottom of the box are against the tree. Because of this I wasn’t able to screw the middle screw deep into the tree (as you can see above). So I put the bracket I got with the owl box on the bottom of it to keep the box sturdy on the tree.
As it turns out hanging it wasn’t hard at all. You can hang it high enough with a regular 12′ ladder.
Tips for Hanging an Owl Box
- Hang the box from 10 – 30 feet high.
- The box can hang facing any direction except North.
- Make sure nothing is blocking the flight path into the box like a nearby building or branches.
- Stuff a couple of handfuls of dry leaves or pine shavings into the bottom of the box before hanging it.
- If you don’t have a tree you can hang it on a pole.
- Make sure the box is hanging level or tipped forward a tiny bit from the top. That way when it rains, water won’t get into the box.
You can build your own Screech Owl box, or you can just buy one already made and finished. Owl Reach who sent me mine sells 3 finishes, whitewashed (like mine), blue washed, and natural. It’s a small company owned by a woman and the boxes are all handmade and finished in Texas. Nope. This isn’t a sponsored post. I just love my Owl Box.
And now that it’s actually hung outside I’m sure I’ll love the owls that move in too. The maternity ward is ready and waiting.
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