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Screech Owl Nesting Box Basics: Rule 1

Screech owl asleep
                                                                                                   Archival photo of our neighbor, Ace

    This post is part of a continuing series of posts about Eastern Screech Owls -- and attracting one to your back yard. 

   I have had an owl box just beyond my backyard for more years than I can count at this point, and I have learned a lot -- from asking experts, observing, or learning the hard way. 

  I thought I should share what I have learned. 

   Other owlers may suggest different advice. Theirs may be just as useful. One thing I have learned: No two screech owls are alike.   

   Here are is the first of my Top 10 Rules for attracting Screech Owls -- with big-time advice from David Johnson of the Global Owl Project. (Thanks, David!)   

    Click "Continue reading..." for the first rule.

    Rule One: You want a Screech Owl box with a 2¾” diameter entrance hole.

   The bottom of the box should be about 8” x 8”, with 3/16” drain holes in the corners; the entrance hole should be centered 12” above the floor; there should be 2” between the top of the entrance hole and the roof. 

     A box with a larger hole will increase the risk of attracting other birds, competitors, or predators.

    (One year a female wood duck tried to get into my owl box -- while the female Screech Owl was hatching her eggs. If the hole had been larger, she would have used the box to lay her eggs.)

    You can buy the box at a birding supply store or build it yourself if you are handy.    

   To be continued