We have already learned some tips for getting bats to nest and visit your garden, but what about owls? They might be a lot bigger than bats, but many of the things a bat needs will also entice many owls into your garden. If you are lucky enough to live in an area where bats are prevalent following these ten tips will give you the best chance of seeing an owl in your own garden and that is a special moment in anyone life. So let’s turn our head 360 and get on with those tips…
Make or Buy a Nestbox
This is of course the first step you should do if you want owls to nest or roost in your garden. When it comes to placement it is not so much about where the nestbox is located, but where other things are for the owl to perch on while on the lookout. So putting nestboxes in line with trees or posts (not too close, more than 5 meters away from any possible landing spot)
The easiest way to do this is to have large round garden posts for your garden fence, but you could always place large logs horizontally like those posts you see people tie their horses to. The easiest way to work out the placement of this said post is to imagine a small landing strip in the garden. Owls are not the most agile in the sky so a long landing strip with a post to land on at the end is pretty much perfect.
A perfect lawn is all well and good, but having a small patch at the end of the garden for rough, patchy grassland will often entice field voles into the garden which are an owls main pray. The taller grass will also enable the owl to land and eat its pray without feeling threatened.
Keep it Dark
Unlike bats who are not bothered by small outdoor lights, an owl will often be rather bothered by it. So do try and make that garden as dark as you can, this is especially true with security lights as they might startle the owl when it comes into land close to your home. You can still use night-vision cameras for security, just not the motion lights. This tips also goes for solar lights as even they can put the owl off visiting your little sanctuary.
No Pesticides or Poisons
This is especially true for rat poison as it could well poison the owl who comes to feed on the rats. Small mice and other field rodents will often eat from smaller plants and bushes, to consider that by posing them you might well be posing the owl. If an owl works out your garden rodents are clean and tasty it will, of course, visit your area more often.
Keep Pets Indoors
This is not just for the owl’s safety, but with small dogs and cats, it could also mean for their own safety! This is especially true with larger barn owls as they have been known to pick on some cats. So keep them indoors nice and safe, at least try and keep them separate to the little habitat you have made for the owls. You can do this by letting your cat in and out the front door and keeping the back garden gate locked so cats will struggle to get in.
Know Your Local Owls
By finding out the type of owls in your local area means you can tailor things in your garden to their needs. Some barn owls are rather large and need a larger nesting box and larger posts to land on, also some owls are happy to just eat seeds and fruits and others enjoy large bugs like beetles. Just ask around on social media for what others have seen in your localised area.
Stop Feeding The Starlings
Sadly for owls Starlings have a nasty habit of taking over owl nesting boxes and even ganging up on owls to scare them out of the area. Sadly this often means removing the nesting box if they start to appear more commonly instead of owls. Having starlings in the garden will also encourage cats into the situation, so it’s not good all round.
Put Some Food Out
While you can get specialized owl food like dead mice I get that this is not for everyone, so you can always do the reverse and put food out for the owls pray (things like seeds and berries). Owls are mostly hunters and while some will indeed eat berries and bugs they are mostly meat-eaters meaning bring their food into your garden is the best way to go about things.
And finally, the best tip of all, to just have a little patience. Owls are known to be cautious, shy animals so give them time to visit your garden, Even if after a single year you only get one owl to visit the garden it means you are doing something right and given enough time that frequency of visitation will increase.
Do you have any other tips for getting owls to visit your garden? Or do you already have owls visit it? If you do please do leave a comment below.