Monday, October 13, 2008

Owls at night

Last night (and a few before) I heard the distinct noises of an owl. Well, actually maybe 2 owls. They had two different calls, but both sounded like owls. I think it's really exciting, and would be more excited if I could somehow get out of my warm snuggly bed and go find/see them. That probably won't be happening.
Maybe I could get lucky like this person in Farmington Hills and have a pair camped out in our own private nature preserve. I'll have to be more cognizant of my surroundings and keep a better eye out. Perhaps there is a nest on our property (could I be that lucky??

I found this info @ The Blue Bird Box (??) Perhaps we have a solution to our mole problem. We'll definitely need to keep an eye on the cat that has taken to escaping at night.

If you are hearing the "Hoot Hoot" sounds at night, then you have a Great Horned Owl in the area. Known as the "Tiger of the Night Sky" the Great Horned will kill anything that it can nail by surprise and that it can handle, so chickens or ducks are on the menu. In fact, Great Horned Owls will kill Barn Owls too, and are even credited with killing the Spotted Owl min the northwest.

However, if you hear a raspy hiss or a screech sound at night then you have a Barn Owl in the area. Most folks do not know this, but people confuse the raspy hiss or screech sounds made by Barn Owls for Western or Eastern Screech Owls. The Screech Owl do not screech at all, it makes a sound that is commonly called the bouncing ball, and has a trilling off sound to it. You have to hear it to know it, but I can assure you that if you hear a load "SCREECH" it's a Barn Owl.

When I get up early to reply to e-mails (had 89 of them this morning) I take a moment to check out our Barn Owls while it is still dark with a spotlight that I recently purchased through Wal-Greens (cost $9.99 and it's a great deal.) This particular Barn Owl nest box is over 100 yards from our backyard, and over looks our vineyard. I gave them the spotlight (which doesn't both them) from our back porch, and there they are looking out at the world though the entry hole of their nest box before calling it a night and going to sleep for the day.

I love Barn Owls just as much as I do Bluebirds, and that's saying allot. Attracting them is identical to attracting Bluebirds, as Barn Owls need a cavity to roost and breed in (just like bluebirds) and the only difference between nest boxes is the size and hight. It took us 4 years to get Barn Owls at our vineyard, but last year I broke my occupancy record at another vineyard by get Barn Owls into their nests boxes in less than 48 hours. Now both of our Barn Owl nest boxes have here breeders, so I plan to install another Barn Owl nest boxes to attract more Barn Owls. The more Barn Owls you have the more rodents they consume.

Steve Simmons 2 year diet study conducted by students from UC Davis, CA, using 48 Barn Owl nest box determined rodent consumption by Barn Owls to be 12,653 Pounds or 6.3 Tons Killed & Consumed in One Year! Because the Barn Owl kills and consumes an alarming number of rodents (moles too because they do all their hunting by ear, can hear the mole under the soil and will bust through the soil to get at the mole) each year, for that reason, there is no other bird on the planet that is more beneficial to mankind than the Barn Owl in my opinion.

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