Friday, November 6, 2020
As it is the case with several other animals, owls also struggle with the scarcity of natural habitat. These spectacular birds normally use large territories to find enough prey, thus the increasing urbanization makes it hard for owls to thrive. But we can easily contribute to their lives with some ideas and support a common goal: to create a healthy garden wildlife.
Owls’ body and senses adapted well to their lifestyle. Their binocular vision, excellent hearing and sharp talons are just a few things that make them extremely efficient hunters. There are about 200 owl species, yet the most common ones in Europe are the barn owl, tawny owl, eagle-owl and long-eared owl. All of them are nocturnal predators feeding on small mammals (such as mice) , thus they contribute to the ecosystem as a natural pest control.
Fun fact: A family of barn owl can gobble down several thousand rodents in a course of a nesting season.
Nesting boxes for a better future
Interestingly, owls do not build their own nests, but try to find abandoned nests or sites with the appropriate structure to breed. But unfortunately, such sites are disappearing. This is why the best way to attract owls in our garden is to place out nesting boxes.
Since different owls prefer different nesting sites, in the following we write about the preferences of the four common owl species in Europe.
1. Tawny Owl
Tawny owls are the most common owls in Europe. They are smaller, than other owls in the region and they nest in old barns, in dark areas of woodland, in parks or in other green residential areas.
Our specific Tawny owl box is build to meet the needs of this unique bird. The best is to put the box at a height of 3-6 meters. Make sure to never attach the box above water, in order to preserve the safety of young owls leaving the nest. Since our owl nesting boxes are made of 100% FSC wood, the tawny owl box is a sustainable choice too.
Tip: Owls don’t build their own nest, so you can make them more comfortable by applying nesting material in the nest box such as wood chips, small twigs or dry peat dust!
2. Barn owl
The barn owl is a bird with beautiful feathers and is one of the most effective pest controller. Before the 20th century, barn owls preferred to hide in sheltered places such as rock crevices and holes in trees, they later settled in comfortable places like barns, attics and church towers. During the expansion of agriculture (and thus the expansion on the number of rodents) these owls quickly adapted to living with humans. However, the modern constructions of our buildings offer less and less space to shelter, so the number of natural shelters and nesting places has become scarce. You can therefore easily help these owls by placing a Barn owl box in the right place.
Place the nesting box in a quite environment, facing North or Northeast, and 6 to 8m above the ground. This nest box has a partition on the inside, which makes the box even darker and helps to keep other predators out of the nest. The box is made of 100% FSC wood and is very suitable to mount on barns, stables, church towers or to place in attics.
Tip: Make sure, that the entrance hole is clearly visible for the owls, so that they can approach it easily.
3. Long-eared owl
Although this type of owl is generally solitary, we can see them socializing on large trees during the autumn and winter. Their favorite roosting sites are tall evergreen trees. Long-eared owls prefer open nests rather than nesting boxes, therefore we offer an owl basket for this large bird. Similarly to other species, they also like if the nesting basket is at a high altitude.
4. Little owl
As its name suggests, little owls are tiny creatures feeds mainly on small mammals, insects and earthworms. As for nesting sites, little owls prefer holes in trees, in cliffs, walls, old buildings and rabbit burrows.
Our Little owl box is made especially for this type of bird. Place the box at a height of 3-5m on a tree trunk or branch facing to the South or Southeast. It is recommended to place out more than one so that little owls can use them simultaneously for food storage or in case of danger. It can be cleaned every two to three years, between the months of October and December.
As soon as an owl finds a nest box on your property, it will be happy to continue hunting there all year round.