Saturday, January 31, 2015

Owl nest season ahead, too

The first year we put up our owl box, an eastern screech owl mama laid eggs and raised at least two owlets. That was spring 2009. Sadly, we haven't had kiddos since. Yesterday, we did a nest box check, and James took a photo (above). Then I emailed Cliff Shackelford, who built our cool Owl Shack. Should we clean out the box? Should we move it? 

"There's no other cavity user besides screech owl that lines the nest/roost with feathers from its prey," he wrote back. "Looks like yours ate cardinal and dove. Yes, leave everything as it is. Owls like it messy, and a feather lining already installed helps. If you think you have cavity competitors, additional boxes might help. Give all the critters free government housing! (To deter snakes) ugly metal flashing around the base of the tree can work, but you gotta adjust it as the tree grows. Rat snakes are statewide, and have been here for millenia. What can you do?" 

Well, we'll just hope for a successful season. That's all we CAN do! Thanks, Cliff! :-)


Rock rose said...

I hope you have success this year. We have had a box up for 3 years. Only squirrels and ants. So D built a new one this year and we are as hopeful as yourselves.

TexasDeb said...

That's a fascinating insight into owl behaviors. I hadn't thought about the threat rat snakes might present - I guess I figured they wouldn't take the owls on but as competitors for a lot of the same prey I guess it makes sense they don't necessarily coexist peaceably. Here's hoping 2015 is a year with more owlets in your box!

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