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Evicting Squirrels from Screech Owl Nesting Boxes

IMG_6793 I am reposting this column from 2010 by popular demand, with an added link to The Screech Owl Companion.

Squirrels invading Screech Owl nesting boxes are like early stages of a forest fire: If you can fight them early enough, and persistently enough, you have a chance of putting them out. 

   One minute your Screech Owl is chilling in the box (left), and the next minute a squirrel has moved in with extreme prejudice.

    You cannot let the squirrel have a chance to get attached to her new digs. You as the landlord have to evict the squatter asap.

   In the eviction process,  I have found that a nesting box video cam attached to your TV or DVR is half the battle.

    Thanks to the mini-cam, and a three-pronged attack, I have had good success in evicting these bushy-tailed rodents.

   (Note: No squirrels were injured in the making of this blog post.)

  IMG_6990  1. As soon as you see a squirrel in or near your nesting box, go after it with a broom or stick. Don't worry: The squirrel will be long gone before you get anywhere near it. Believe me, I have tried.

   2. Once you have evicted the squirrel, check the owl-cam monitor. If the squirrel has brought in bedding material (see photo), remove it immediately (profanity optional).

   3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until the squirrel gives up. 

   My theory, supported by a few years of January squirrel invasions is that the squirrel that is trying to nest in your owl box is in the family way, and she can't afford repeated evictions -- she'll soon find another nesting site.Screech cover small

   Once you have a squirrel problem, you need to reduce the food source.
If you have bird feeders in your yard, you'll have to stop filling them for a couple of weeks, until the squirrel population wanes and peril has subsided.

   Do you have successful squirrel eviction strategies? E-mail me at wrightjamesb (at)

  I also highly recommend my new book, "The Screech Owl Companion," which devotes an entire chapter to squirrels and another chapter on how to build a squirrel-resistant owl bod designed by my co-author, Scott Weston.

You can order it here.