Attracting Owls Into Garden: Tips For Making Gardens Owl Friendly

Image by Lip Kee Yap

By Anne Baley

You can build fences and set out traps, but rabbits, mice, and squirrels may still be a problem in your garden. One of the most foolproof ways to get rid of rodent thieves is to attract an owl onto your property. Attracting owls into garden areas is like setting out a watchdog in the yard; you’ll have little worry of unpleasant visitors when you’re not watching.

The first step in attracting your own rodent control predator is by making an owl nest box. Owls do not make nests of their own, but take over useful structures or other abandoned nests. Once an owl finds a likely nest box on your property, it will happily stay and hunt on your property all year long.

How to Attract Owls to the Garden

How to attract owls to your backyard? Owls never make their own nests — they’re nature’s squatters. Once they find a likely structure during their nesting season, they will move in and stay for months.

After the fledglings have flown away, the parent owls are likely to stay if the supply of food remains constant. Make sure your owl family has enough cover, food, water, and some perches from which to hunt, and you may be lucky enough to have them stay for years.

Creating a Nest Box for Owls

When making gardens owl friendly, it’s wise to consider the type of owl you want to attract.

Great Horned owl – Among the largest of owls, the great horned owl is useful for large rodents like squirrels, and other animal pests such as raccoons, skunks and even snakes.

These birds prefer a sort of open, bowl-shaped nest in the crotch of a dead tree or on top of a pole. You can create these nests easily by forming the bowl with chicken wire and lining it with tar paper. Fill the bowl shape with sticks and twigs, and any great horned owls in the neighborhood will stop by to take a look.

Barn owl – The most common owl in garden settings may be the barn owl. These birds are smaller, about the size of a cat. They’ve adapted very well to living with humans, and love to eat dozens of mice, squirrels, moles and other small rodents.

These birds require a solid wooden box with an oval hole for the entrance. Create a flap as the door to clean out the box once a year. All owls appreciate a nest high in a tree or on the top of a building or pole, so place this box in the highest spot you can find.

No matter what kind of owl you attract, make sure you add drainage hole to the bottom of the nest to prevent puddling, and empty out the nest once a year to remove bone capsules, dead rodents and other unhealthy objects.

Now that you know what most owls like, inviting owls to gardens can be a much simpler process.

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