Owls’ cries echo over the night sky frequently. The Great Horned Owl’s gentle “hoo,” the Barred Owl’s familiar “who cooks for you?,” and the Eastern Screech Owl’s trilling whinny are all nighttime sounds that can be heard in our yards, woods, and gardens. Over 200 species exist globally, with 19 in the United States. They are an integral element of the ecology and lurk in the shadows.
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Owls are stunning birds that may help keep your yard free of mice and other vermin. People typically use decoy owls to scare these pests away from their homes. You can only imagine how powerful this would be if you actually had owls in your yard. Attracting these birds can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. There’s nothing more they require from you besides:
As with many other species of birds, attracting owls to your yard just requires putting out food for them. In contrast to lesser birds, though, these ones aren’t satisfied with bird food, fruit, or nectar. These magnificent birds are classified as birds of prey. They are obligate carnivores, eating only animal matter, ranging from the tiniest insects to the largest rodents and even birds. The same holds true for owls, which prefer to feast on still-living prey. Also, if you want to attract owls to your yard, you may help them out by making your yard less hostile to insects and rodents.
Keep some grass uncut
Animals can also find cover in long, tall grasses. Plus, they won’t be happy if you mow your lawn too often. Try to leave some room for grass to grow. Most likely, a spot that doesn’t allow your neighbor a clear view of your activities. Alternatively, you can design your environment so that certain tall grasses can grow while still looking stunning.
Refrain From Using Any Pesticides Or Insecticides
If you want owls to visit your yard, you shouldn’t use pesticides to get rid of insects and rodents. Poisons like this would eliminate a food source for the birds. But if you believe the owl can just pick them up now that they’re dead, you’d be wrong. A single meal of poisoned food is all it takes to kill an owl. The same is true for your own dogs, who are just as vulnerable to poisoning. Consequently, you should refrain from using it altogether.
Plant Some Native Species
Insects and rodents still consume vegetation, even if owls don’t. If you want to attract local wildlife, grow some plants that are naturally found there.
Every living thing, including owls, requires water to survive. Make sure there is a water supply close by in addition to food. A lake or stream works best. But if neither of those things is available, you can always put up a birdbath. My recommendation is to get a heated birdbath so the owls may use it even in the winter.
Set up a roosting area
Nesting boxes give a safe haven for the owls you hope to attract, as many species choose to do instead of using cavities or dead trees. The owls are more likely to visit if they have a safe place to not just sleep but also build nests and raise their young.
Knowing where the owl’s nest is essential
The location of an owl house is crucial, as it is with any other type of real estate. Because owls only venture to locations they perceive to be secure, you must position and set your box in a spot that appeals to them. Locations protected from wind and oriented toward the south are ideal for building a home. Make sure they are fixed securely enough to shield the owls from wind and predators; any swaying at all can discourage their use.
Put out a starling fire
It’s not uncommon for European starlings to move inside screech owl cages before the owls do. Eliminate a potential starling invasion by keeping a close eye on your box. It’s easiest to do this by putting your box somewhere that is not completely open, like a wooded location. Otherwise, keep a tight eye out for any telltale signs of tampering with your boxes. Untreated wood shavings, dried pine needles, or leaves scattered to a depth of 2 to 3 inches within the box can discourage owls from making a home there.
Switch off the lights
Owls are predominantly nocturnal, therefore we only ever get to hear them instead than see them. These silent predators have ears and sight that are specialized for hearing prey in the dark. For this reason, owls will avoid areas with a lot of artificial light, such as suburban backyards. The owl’s natural hunting habits are thrown off by bright outdoor lights, and the bird’s stealth is compromised as a result.
Let the grass grow
In search of a justification to put off lawn maintenance? In other words, owls will benefit from it. Moles, mice, shrews, and voles, all of which are common prey for owls, are attracted to tall, dense grass. Having a lawn that isn’t mowed as frequently gives the ideal habitat for these creatures to flourish, making it a prime hunting ground for nocturnal birds like owls. Small rodents, such as mice, are more likely to travel through extensive patches of grass.
It’s not for the faint of heart to try and entice owls. Clearing undergrowth, trimming huge branches, and maintaining a manicured lawn can deter owls from settling in an area where outside pets or poultry are a nuisance. Taking down bird feeders can have a similar effect, leading owls to look for new hunting grounds with more potential prey. Owls have a habit of returning to the same hunting grounds year after year. Don’t let the pets and chickens out after dark.