What is an Owl?
Owls are small birds with black heads and white bodies. They have long legs, which allow them to run fast, but they don’t have big feet like most other birds. Their wingspan measures about 2 meters (6 feet). Owls’ eyesight is excellent and their hearing is good too; owls can hear sounds up to several miles away. They have a very powerful sense of smell, able to detect food even when it’s hidden from view.
The name “owl” comes from the Old English word “owle”, meaning crow or crowbar. They’re not really crows, but rather scavengers that eat dead animals such as mice and rats. Most owls live in trees and use their keen vision to hunt down prey.
How do I Create Owl Boxes?
Creating an owl box is easy if you follow these simple steps:
1) Find a suitable spot where there is plenty of space.
Make sure that the area doesn’t contain any dangerous things such as snakes, poisonous plants or insects. You need to make sure that no one will disturb your work during construction.
2) Pick a tree that faces south or southwest.
3) Check the base of the tree to see if it’s hollow.
If it is, you can build your box there.
4) Cut out a square piece of plywood and nail it to the tree with 6d common nails.
Space the nails about 6-8 inches apart. This is where your owl will make its nest.
5) To protect your box from mice, you need to place a piece of wire at the bottom.
Cut a strip of galvanized wire 1 inch high and wrap it around the bottom of the box.
6) Nail a roosting bar across the back of the box so that it faces into the box.
This gives your owls a place to perch while they are inside.
7) Cut out a piece of plywood to fit on the bottom of the box.
This will keep the owls from sitting on the wire. It will also help to keep the eggs and young birds safe from predators such as red-tailed hawks.
8) Cut a hole in the top of the box just large enough for an owl to enter and exit.
9) Paint or stain your box so that it blends into the surroundings.
When you’re finished, you should have a nice box just right for an owl family. You should check it every few days to make sure that there are no predators such as rats or snakes in it. If that’s the case, then take the animals to a more wilderness area away from people and release them there.
Finding an Owl
The first step in creating your owl boxes is to find an owl. There are many different types of owls and they can be found all over the world. They all like to eat small animals such as mice and rats and they hunt at night when it’s dark. You can find owls in the woods or in fields where there are no people.
Owls make round nests out of twigs, leaves and grasses on the ground called ‘nests.’ You may find several of these ‘nests’ in a shrub or low tree.
Owls lay one to three eggs at a time. The eggs are white or bluish white with brown or black spots. The eggs usually hatch in 28 days, but some larger types of owls take as long as 33 days. Once the eggs have hatched, the young birds, called ‘awns’ leave the nest about 10-15 days later.
Once you’ve found an owl nest, you will need to make a wooden box to place near the nest. The box, or ‘nest box’ should be about 18 inches wide and 12 inches high. It should have a small door on top that can be opened and closed with a cord. You can use any kind of wood such as pine, cedar or redwood.
Nest boxes for owls can be bought from nature centers and parks. You can also make your own. It is important that the box be mounted at least 10-15 feet above the ground so that it is out of reach of predators such as red-tailed hawks and great horned owls. You can also build a wooden platform to place the nest box on. Make sure that the box or platform is in a safe spot where people and their pets won’t disturb it.
You should check your box or boxes every few days. Remove the eggs and take them to an empty nest box that you have placed in a safer location. If these instructions seem too difficult, you can always give the eggs to an adult to take care of.
After the eggs have hatched, you can let nature take its course or you can try raising the birds yourself. If you plan on raising them yourself, you will need to get an ‘owl house’ or a cage with horizontal bars. You can find houses for sale at nature centers or pet stores that sell supplies for wild animals. You will also need to feed mice or small rats to the young owls. These can be purchased at a pet store.
When the owls are ready to ‘fledge’, or leave the nest, they will need to be released into the area that you found them in.
Sources & references used in this article:
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