For the past couple years screech owls have visited our yard at night. We sit on our porch listening to their beautiful sounds. They’re whinnies and trills, not at all screeches like their name suggests. You can listen to a sample of their voice here.
Sometimes we see them on lower branches of the oak tree. They’re small, between 6 and 9 inches tall. Adorable. But they’ve got more to offer than small stature and beautiful eyes. They eat rodents and roaches. I love them.
Birders said we should build an owl house for nesting. Our friend Dennis wanted to build one, too. He found this Audubon Backyard guide to building screech owl boxes. The design is very specific, based on research from an authority on screech owl behavior.
They finished building them around sunset. We all admired their handiwork over a couple beers. As if on cue, we heard the familiar trills nearby.
I think the owls are going to like them.
- They followed these plans for the owl houses. They painted them and added copper flashing to the roof to make them more water-resistant. Okay, maybe they went overboard. But they look so nice.
- Book illustrations and photos: Florida’s Birds by Herbert W. Kale, II and David S. Maehr, illustrated by Karl Karalus and The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, Eastern Region by John Bull and John Furrand, Jr.