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Eastern Screech owl in the box, now what?

 
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billgost



Joined: 15 Apr 2017
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 3:06 am    Post subject: Eastern Screech owl in the box, now what? Reply with quote

Hello from Austin Texas,
I am new to this forum and would like to get some advise please. After one season empty, I now have a mating pair of Eastern Screech Owls on my property. The female (Rufous morph) is in the box and the Grey mate stands beside the box all day. It is one of the highlights of my day to sit in the evening and watch her poke her head out, eventually leaving the box about 7:20 PM each evening.



I built the nesting box based on what I've read about best practices and so there are no perches or ways for squirrels/snakes to get into the box.



Now, of course, I'm all stressed out as to what to do next.

- Should I wait for some time and then add a perch for the owlets?
- Do the owlets need a way to get back into the box if they fall out?
- There are feral cats in my neighborhood and I have a small dog. How can I protect the owlets?
- Should I check the box at some point?
- Any general advise?

Thanks for any information you can give.

Best regards,
Bill
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bird brain



Joined: 25 Feb 2017
Posts: 4
Location: Highland Village, TX

PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations! I've had the same screech owl pair for 3 years now. I'm in the Dallas area. My eggs hatched about 2 1/2 weeks ago and I have 4 chicks currently. The female wont leave the house at night if the eggs are unhatched. She must sit on them 24/7 until they are hatched. If she is leaving the box at dusk to hunt, then that means your eggs are hatched. Eggs unhatched, male does all the hunting. Eggs hatched, both will hunt. The chicks cant reach the entrance hole until they are about 3 to 4 weeks old. Mom knows this. That's why she is leaving them safely behind to help hunt for food.
Not sure if I can answer your question about adding a perch because mine is in a tree, with lots of perches.
The scent of your dog will help deter the owls enemies. So let your dog hang around the area. I turn my porch light on at night to also deter predators.
Possoms, raccoons, and cats dont want to be lit up at night so I figure the porch light helps deter the owls predators.
If one falls out, wrap a hand towel around it, pick it up, and replace it into the box. The parents are learning that you are not a threat, and will trust you more and more in time.
I have 2 owl houses, one on a metal pole, and one in a tree. The female chose the tree box to lay her eggs. The male roosts in the box on a pole frequently.
A stove pipe or sheet metal on the pole above the fence line might help thwart climbing predators.
Once the chicks make their way up and perch in the entrance hole, they will be flying within days so probably don't need any perches.
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bird brain



Joined: 25 Feb 2017
Posts: 4
Location: Highland Village, TX

PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your absolutely sure Mom isn't in the box, you can go up a ladder with your cell phone. Use the video camera on your smart phone and stick your hand with your phone in it in the entrance hole and blindly record for a few seconds. I've gotten some great footage this way. You can also take a couple of still shots. This way you will know how many, how big they are, and if they are OK. There is also a screech owl ringtone on Itunes that is incredibly real sounding. I play it sometimes to see if anyone is home. Search for screech owl ringtone and you should find it. good luck
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