In May of last year I built an owl shack to hang in my big pecan tree in the front yard. I often heard owls outside at night and thought that was so awesome that I wanted to encourage them to live in my area.
I found house plans specifically for the eastern screech owl online, and used wood I had on hand to put it together. I had some huge pieces of tree bark I had been saving for fireplace kindling, and I used it on the outside of the house like siding for camouflage. Lastly, I put a layer of wood shavings in the bottom as directed for bedding. Instructions for hanging it in the tree were also rather specific. With the tree that I have, I was able to abide by all of suggestions except for the direction that it faced. I initially hung it facing the direction suggested, but quickly realized that at night my neighbors' driveway lights lit it up like an airport runway. I moved it around to the other side of the tree. It faces the sidewalk now -- not recommended -- but it met the other recommendations, so it was a start. And I waited.
When I told people about it, they told me I would probably get bees in it. Or squirrels. I shrugged them off -- who knows what would happen?
My previous posts about my owl shack are here:
At Halloween when I had the ladder out I mustered my courage and peered inside. Nobody home. At Christmas, again with the ladder, I lifted the lid and peered in. Empty, but there was a well in the wood shavings. Hmmm.. had something been resting there?
And then last week -- on the way home from a dog walk at dusk I looked up, and...
I HAVE AN OWL IN MY OWL SHACK!!!!
(Okay, so that is a photo I found on the internet -- but it's what he looked like! I took a photo, but it was too dark to see anything in it.) And then as I wheeled out my trash bins that evening for next day pick up, he craned around out the front and to the side and watched me. It was awesome.
I haven't seen him since. I hope that my staring or my trash bin noise didn't discourage him from returning. But regardless, it is an encouraging start... I don't know how long he had been there, but I will be watching for him again.