This past weekend, I finally got around to cleaning out the Screech Owl house that we have posted in the woods behind our house.
Each summer, an industrious little house wren decides the box is perfect for it’s nest and even though it’s huge for a bird that size, it fills the box up with twigs, attracts a female who is duly impressed by his fortitude, and raises a brood of young feisty wrens.
So, each fall, I have to go pull out all those sticks and put down some nice wood chips so that the next tennants, the Screech Owls, will find it acceptable. Over the 10 years or so that we’ve had the box up, the Screech Owls have used it maybe three times, but I hear them calling in the woods at different times of the year so I know they’re there.
The blurry photo here is of a Screech Owl that was using the box one year. That was the best shot I got, since it would pop back in the box whenever I got close.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology recently released a short little You Tube video on Screech Owls and how they blend in to their surroundings so nicely. They have some excellent photos in the video of the camouflaging in action.
After watching it, I thought about how as I cleaned out the box on Sunday, I may have had a prospective tenant peering from a sycamore tree hole or cavity in an old Locust tree.
We’re putting on a program on Owls in January if you’d like to learn more about these great birds. Check out the programs calendar for more info.