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House spacing and lure for new residents?

 
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BonesD



Joined: 10 Feb 2014
Posts: 9
Location: Georgetown Texas

PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 12:47 am    Post subject: House spacing and lure for new residents? Reply with quote

Hello, new to the forum this morning. We just moved to outside of Austin Texas last year and I have slept on the back porch many nights when the weather was nice. I started hearing these wired noises that were just so fun to listen to I finally tracked down an audio clip on the web identifying the noise as that of an Eastern Screech owl. I finally saw one last month just at dusk so I was pretty sure what they were so my questions are, I built 2 houses and hung one in the front and one in the back yard. We live on only a half acre.

1 Are they too close to each other?

2 is there anything I can do to attract the owls to the houses? Tie a mouse to the roof? Just kidding of course.

We are looking forward to some new residents. Thanks to all
BonesD
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owlboy
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Joined: 19 Mar 2006
Posts: 1343
Location: Albany, NY, USA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Make sure that the house is up high enough. If you have a lot of prey around your house, they may take up residence there. It is unlikely that they will occupy both houses, but one will probably make you happy enough. You can also put some nesting material in the bottom of the box. The nesting material can be bark, moss, leaves, and/or twigs. I am sure that they have already found them. They should start nesting in the next month or two.
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Always looking for Owls in Greene County NY
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BonesD



Joined: 10 Feb 2014
Posts: 9
Location: Georgetown Texas

PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply. I already put wood shavings in for nesting purposes. The first one I put up was about 19 feet to the bottom of the box. I had to take it down to modify it though as I had made it out some very nice plywood. The inside walls were too smooth and I was worried the little critters wouldn't be able to crawl out. Plus the box plans I used show a removable top for cleaning purposes. I would have to have my ladder and me way too high to do the maintenance. So while I had it down I put some thin strips of wood staggered around the inside to give the babies something to climb out with and I made the bottom removable for cleaning. I don't want to have to remove the nest for cleaning. When I remounted the box I put it about 4 foot lower. The other box is made of cedar and has a rough interior and also a removable bottom.
I hope they pick one or both of them. Can't wait
Thank you
Bones
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screech



Joined: 15 May 2011
Posts: 40
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have Eastern Screech Owls in our area. We live on 4 acres & I put up an owl box & it took about 3 years before owls nested in it. They came back 3 years in a row & then the next year took up residency in another box about 18 ft. away. We have 8 boxes scattered around in our front & back yard but only see one family a year. I've been told that the families don't nest close to each other. They are fun to listen to at night. They have a distinctive "whinny" sound. During the winter the squirrles live in the boxes which is also fun to watch. We don't clean out our boxes each year as it's too high for old folks like us on a ladder. I hope they come & nest in your yard. We saw signs of the family last year around the end of February so I'm keeping my binoculars handy & hope to see some activity soon.
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BonesD



Joined: 10 Feb 2014
Posts: 9
Location: Georgetown Texas

PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hope they arrive soon. I have not heard them the last couple months so I was wondering do they migrate at all or are they full time residents? We live just outside of Georgetown about 30 miles north of Austin Texas.
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owlboy
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Joined: 19 Mar 2006
Posts: 1343
Location: Albany, NY, USA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

screech owls do not migrate. Most screech owls start to nest in March time frame. I would give it a little more time.
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