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You can build fences and set out traps, but rabbits, mice, and squirrels may still be a problem in your garden. The first step in attracting your own rodent control predator is by making an owl nest box. After the fledglings have flown away, the parent owls are likely to stay if the supply of food remains constant. When making gardens owl friendly, it’s wise to consider the type of owl you want to attract.
Great Horned owl – Among the largest of owls, the great horned owl is useful for large rodents like squirrels, and other animal pests such as raccoons, skunks and even snakes. These birds prefer a sort of open, bowl-shaped nest in the crotch of a dead tree or on top of a pole.
No matter what kind of owl you attract, make sure you add drainage hole to the bottom of the nest to prevent puddling, and empty out the nest once a year to remove bone capsules, dead rodents and other unhealthy objects.
Now that you know what most owls like, inviting owls to gardens can be a much simpler process. People spend millions of dollars on houses, feeders, and seed for backyard birds every year, hoping to draw in a wide variety of feathered friends to watch and enjoy through the seasons. By logging in, you confirm that you accept our terms of service and have read and understand privacy policy. By clicking "Sign in", you confirm that you accept our terms of service and have read and understand privacy policy.
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Owls are not common backyard birds, but they can be highly desirable guests and are incredible to hear and observe when they do visit. One of the most foolproof ways to get rid of rodent thieves is to attract an owl onto your property. Owls do not make nests of their own, but take over useful structures or other abandoned nests. Make sure your owl family has enough cover, food, water, and some perches from which to hunt, and you may be lucky enough to have them stay for years. You can create these nests easily by forming the bowl with chicken wire and lining it with tar paper.

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But despite our quest to lure in chickadees, bluebirds, nuthatches, and other birds for our viewing pleasure, many bird-lovers shy away from attracting owls because they think it won't work. Farmers can opt out of using harmful poisons to kill vermin and pests by inviting rodent- and insect-seeking owls onto their properties. With the right preparation, any birder can learn how to attract owls to the backyard on a regular basis.Why We Love OwlsOwls are some of the most beloved raptors, and their silent flight, large eyes, mournful calls and nocturnal behavior makes them both magical and mysterious. Because owls eat mice, voles, gophers and similar small rodents, backyard birders who have mice nearby are more likely to attract owls. Once an owl finds a likely nest box on your property, it will happily stay and hunt on your property all year long. Once they find a likely structure during their nesting season, they will move in and stay for months. Fill the bowl shape with sticks and twigs, and any great horned owls in the neighborhood will stop by to take a look. They’ve adapted very well to living with humans, and love to eat dozens of mice, squirrels, moles and other small rodents. All owls appreciate a nest high in a tree or on the top of a building or pole, so place this box in the highest spot you can find. Simply not true, particularly when we're talking about certain species of owls, says Tom Bancroft, PhD, chief scientist at the National Audubon Society. According to a recent article in American Fruit Grower, a family of barn owls will scarf down an amazing several thousand rodents during a nesting season, with the young eating two to four rodents a night!While barn owls rank very high in the rodent-control category, other owl species can also knock down the number of mice, voles, and other pests in your neighborhood. Because owls are not highly active during the day, a backyard owl can coexist with other backyard birds, and as excellent hunters, they can help control squirrel and rodent populations. Leaving grass uncut, adding a brush pile and leaving seed on the ground will make the yard more mouse-friendly, which in turn makes the habitat more owl-friendly.
Smaller owls may also help control large insects, and owls will occasionally catch reptiles such as snakes and lizards as well.
Owls dine on a smorgasbord of voles, mice, and other rodents that can pester urban or suburban homeowners, as well as large insects that can wreak havoc on your garden. Breeding season runs from mid-March through mid-May, depending on where you live in the country, and screech owls anywhere will readily move into properly placed owl boxes if trees with nesting holes are not available.

Because they do not eat birdseed, these birds are also inexpensive to attract compared to birds with hearty appetites for costly seed or other foods.There are more than 200 species of owls in the world, but only a few are comfortable enough to become backyard species.
In hotter climates and during the summer, however, owls may visit slightly larger, deeper bird baths to drink or bathe. According to Bancroft, the best way to find out if there are owls already living in your neighborhood is to listen for their calls at night.
Smaller owl species that are more likely to be common in backyard may also use large nest boxes that are positioned 10-20 feet above the ground on a large tree. Many screech owls begin to nest in March and April, so now is the time to build or buy a screech owl box and install it.
Barn owls may also use abandoned buildings for nesting, and leaving a barn or shed open for the birds to access can give them a great place to raise a brood. You can build from an Audubon Screech Owl Box Plan, or buy an already constructed screech owl box. Nest boxes should be put up in January or February for owls, since these birds nest much earlier than other backyard species. Make sure you scatter two to three inches of untreated wood shavings, such as those sold for rabbit bedding at pet stores, in the bottom of the box. Owls hut more effectively in darkness and will not visit well-lit yards. Keep pets indoors after twilight and during nighttime hours. European starlings are known to take over screech owl boxes before the owls move in, so it's important to monitor your box.
These types of pets will not survive outdoors, and owls must hunt live prey to meet their nutritional and behavioral needs. Avoid frequent use of recorded owl calls that can agitate the birds and distract them from the hunting or nesting activities they need to survive. The number one way to avoid this invasion is to place your box in a wooded area, not in an open area. Too many calls may also simulate excess predators in the area, which can deter other birds from visiting.With patience and careful planning, it is possible to attract owls to enjoy up close in your backyard.
If this isn't possible, monitor the box and clean out starling nesting material if you notice the birds frequenting the box.

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