Building an owl nesting house | Living the Country Life

Building an owl nesting house

Living the Country Life Radio Program with Betsy Freese

Get to know your owls

Listen to the radio story (mp3) or read below

Radio interview source: Stephen Kress, vice president of bird conservation, National Audubon Society

In Indian folklore, owls represent many things: wisdom, helpfulness, the underworld, and the power of prophecy. But, on our farm, we're pretty practical. We like owls because they catch mice. I think they live in the cavities of our old, hollow trees, but they would appreciate a homemade nest in which to raise their young.

Stephen Kress is the vice president of bird conservation for the National Audubon Society. He says when it comes to owls, one size of nesting box does not fit all. You have to know what breed you have around, or the bird will ignore your effort. For instance, a barn owl prefers a different size than a screech owl.

"The floor of the barn owl box should be 10" x 18" and it should be 15 to 18 inches deep, so there's some flexibility there depending on materials a person might have," Kress says. The entrance should be about 4 inches above the floor. The screech owl is smaller and it would require a smaller box."

At least they're not picky about the building material. Rough-cut wood like pine suits the owls just fine. They'd also like wood chips on the bottom so they have a comfortable place to sit.

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