I went out to the back yard around dusk to see why a pile of birds decided to have a shouting match all of the sudden. I looked over at our owl box and had someone looking back at me. A gorgeous screech owl!
I will have to go back when there is more light out to see if I can get any better pictures. Too bad I don’t have my zoom lenses any more. I guess my home made owl box must have been pretty enticing!
I got my latest hive from a co-worker by taking the owl box from his yard that was full of bees. I got to learning about screech owls and even started hearing and seeing them in my neighborhood once I knew what to look and listen for. I wanted to host some owls of my own, and I figured my co-worker at least deserved a replacement box.
I take no credit for the plans used to make this owl box. The Treasure Coast Wildlife Center provides free plans to create owl nests from a single 1×10″ piece of lumber. See those plans here. They are great plans, easy to follow, and even include a little picture of a tiny screech owl to help motivate you!
My bee buddy wanted a box too, so we got 3 eight foot 1×10″s and went to work chopping up the needed lengths. One of the pieces was really badly bowed. I really dropped the ball when picking lumber. I always check for straightness, but sometimes neglect cupping.
Everything went together with simple exterior screws, and some of the dimensions are flexible enough to make assembly a breeze. Start with the back, add sides, then move on to bottom, front and top. The directions should make it pretty clear.
I used pine, but you might want to go with cedar. They recommend against any kind of sealing or paint. I guess the owls don’t like it. Time will tell how long untreated pine like this lasts.
The two of us were able to knock out three owl boxes in about 2 hours once we got into the swing of it. I kept the bowed one, my bee buddy got one, and the co-worker got the last. With any luck he will catch bees in it again and I can have it back!
I put the box up a month or so ago. I am a bit late for mating season, but I know there are screech owls in the area. So far no signs of them having found it, but it can take years for them to decide to use the box. Now we wait!