Welcome, My name is Scott and this is the log book to my Owl Trail, primarily Eastern Screech Owls, but hopefully, I will slowly have some additional Barred Owl sites. Most of the Sites are in Massachusetts, with one so far in Maryland.
This will be my 4th ‘owl season’ using my SQuirrel Resistant owl box (SQR box for short) design. So far I have not had a squirrel take over with this design provided it is placed at least 8 feet away from the nearest branch, other squirrel jumping point and the front of the box. This site is a nice way to log and document successes,failures and fledglings. So far I have 9 screech owl sites, with 1 or 2 boxes per site, and 2 barred owl sites. The last 3 nesting seasons there has been 10 screech owl nesting and at least 31 owlets fledged.
How it started
This so-called trail is mainly family and friends I have recruited in my quirky hobby. Since they are my eyes and ears, it’s not nearly as involved as a bluebird trail seems to be. All the boxes are homemade. I started out building a few normal style boxes and they all got quickly over run with squirrels. So I began brainstorming for a solution, emailing and searching online. There has been much effort from other owl enthusiasts that have published information on blogs with similar issues (predators and squirrels) that helped shape this design. Now all I had to do was test it for owl acceptance and squirrel resistance, so far so good as most SQRboxes went up Fall 2009. The early prototypes integrated the Red Cedar (front and back and floor) from the normal style boxes with the White Pine lumber from the mill. Now they are all made from rough cut white pine because the mill is near by.
Another way to keep squirrels out is by use of a pole (telescoping purple martin) or post (12′-16′ 4″x4″) with flashing), this seems to work just fine and has the ability to face the box any direction and placed anywhere, depending on the amount of ‘qualified’ tree trunks in your own yard, this maybe the only solution for keeping squirrels out of your owl box. I utilize 2 normal boxes on purple martin poles, so far 2 (male and female from Site 3) screech owl has taking a liking to this set up as a roost (no nest, as 2 nesting has occurred in the nearby SQR type box) .
to give credit where due here are the sites and ideas that helped me with screech owls and brainstorming this design for my boxes.
Celeryfarm.net a blogger in NJ that has help quite me bit, has some great video and chronology of Screech owl family(s) over the years and has is own solutions for squirrels
Owlcam.com one of the originators of the ‘owlbox camera’ had a Fisher raid on a Barred Owl nest, his attempts are focused on that.
Chris Johnson’s Screech owl cam has a very good notes page on how to build and owlbox, even gets into some aluminum flashing ideas to help prevent squirrels.
Owlbox.blogspot, another owl blogger who has gone to great lengths to keep squirrels out.
Camera Trap Codger, a wild life Biologist even used his camera traps to set up a squirrel “trials”.
About a Western Screech owl family on a house on a post.
Owlshack a box proprietor that has is own unique style, and has great FAQ section
A screech owl cam site in Texas that again show some ingenuity to keep squirrels from taking over a box.
Due to recent interest in these types of boxes I have set up a more formal ordering system, if you are interested in purchasing one of my screech owl box, please visit the OwlOasis Etsy Store I am trying it out and seeing how it goes. Feedback is welcome.
As of 2/23/2015, I have run out of lumber to make owl houses, due to the copious amounts of snow recently, the lumber mill will be inaccessible until spring. If you are interested send me an email at owloasis (at) yahoo.com and I will email when I get more material! Thank you.
If you have any questions or are going to try to build your own please email at firstname.lastname@example.org