2/03/2009

Squirrel alert!

As I suspected, the new security features in my owl box did not deter the squirrels. This morning when I turned my owlcam on I noticed that the box was full of leaves and I could see a squirrel tail in amongst the debris. At lunch time I fired the owlcam back up and sure enough I could still see the intruder.

I grabbed my coat and bounded out the door and up the ladder to get a closer look. After some discussion, two squirrels took a flying leap out of the box and two others decided to sit tight. We had some more discussions about property rights, after which I finally left the owl box with the lid still open. After lunch I looked at the owl cam and the owl box was squirrel free once again. I suspect this will be an ongoing war, although I’m basking in the knowledge that I won the first battle.

10 comments:

Kallen305 said...

Sounds like they are playing house and like what they see.

I am sure they will be back as squirrels never seem to give up once they make their mind up to do something.

Bird Girl said...

Interesting post! Last winter we put up our first kestrel box. They came, they laid eggs...and then something got the eggs. We do have a few squirrels...but we have more raccoons. I was so depressed - if I had a cam - I would know what happened! What should I do for this year? Do you have your owl box on a tree with no baffle type saftey? Also - could I put a nest box for kestrel and screech owl on the same property? We have almost two acres. I'd love to have an owl, too!
http://mybirdtales.blogspot.com/search?q=kestrel+nestbox

RuthieJ said...

You are no match for 4 squirrels, Owlman! I'm sure they're plotting their revenge as I'm writing this comment!

Stacey Huston said...

Squirrels are not easy to deter..lol.. thanks for sharing

Owlman said...

Kallen305, yeah these guys are determined! I probably should have evicted them last year, but I left them to nest as it was too late for the owls....

Bird Girl, the first step I would recommend is to put a baffle made from metal flashing below and above the nest box. If the box is on a pole, then you would only need it below. My owl box does have flashing around the tree as well as on the roof. Unfortunately trees are not ideal as it is tough to keep the squirrels out. I think it does a good job with the raccoons though. You can definitely put both types of boxes up. Screech owls and Kestrel use the same design although their location would be different. Kestresl prefer open space, while the Screech owls prefer the box in a tree line. Check this post out for more details on box location http://owlbox.blogspot.com/2008/10/building-screech-owl-box.html Let me know how you make out, please!

RuthieJ, yip I hear you. Actually two squirrels came right back after I closed the lid. I promptly evicted them again ;-)

Hi Stacey, long time no see. Yes, these critters don't give up. Thanks for stopping in and commenting.

Thanks for popping in all - I appreciate your comments and interest in the owl box.

BLRem said...

lol....well, we'll see just how long your discussion with the squirrels will deter them. If they are like kids.... :)

Cute post - thanks!
-Barb

Bird Girl said...

Thanks for the info! I'll be sure to let you know how things go!

Owlman said...

Barbara, the discussions did get lively at points and may have involved rattling a stick in the box ;-) I don't think they'll be back soon - hopefully.

No problem Bird Girl, I hope you have success with both the Kestrels and Owls.

Anonymous said...

Owlman,
Long time no talk...but my bad. I've been very involved with my owls. last we spoke I informed you of my screech owl in December. Well, he eventually came back with a large female. BEst of all i was ready. I set up a second box a top of a 5 " wide sapling that was lopped off at top, squirrel guards at base. Also, spy cam in both boxes. and finally, the plan came together. She laid 5 eggs in her box in Feb, and he hangs in his box looking out most of the day.
Last night the owlets starting hatching out! its been amazing watching not only her incredible care for the babies, but the communication between she and her mate.
I understand the debate going on whether or not to feed an owl, or bait for a photo.

this is my experience: for eight years Ive been attempting to get the owls to move into my backyard, with much dissapointment. it was only when i fed them on the harshest of winter nights did they adopt my backyard and move in. here are the benefits tht I have seen when feeding the owls-
*being very suburban owls, they are few and far
between.
*They survived when food conditions were enough to possibly starve them.
*this feeding affected thier "own"hunting 0%. I check their pellets and they are still nice and grey with all kinds of critter parts inside, including crayfish.
finally-They are more habituated to me, to a point. they wont come and land on my shoulder, not at all. but will take a mouse from my hand at a safe distance.
they are extremely difficult to observe, being highly nocturnal. but, myself an my kids have had an awesome opportunity to learn about them with front row seats.
the pay-off, a very safe nesting box for them, to help ensure another generation in deep suburbia.
my appreciation for these birds has gone through the roof, there have been too many surprisess to count, when observing their communication and behaviour.
they are terirfic partners, great parents and amazing communicators. and my children are so enthralled, i beleive they will contribute to the Screech owls survival when they grow up.

We are very blessed to have had this expereince thus far. Regards! Hawthorne Screech Man/ Dan

Owlman said...

Sounds like you're having a great time with the owls. I'd love to see some photos/videos, please email it to me when you get a chance. Where about are you? I'm guessing in warmer parts as Feb is VERY early for around here. I haven't seen hide nor hair of my owls sadly. It looks like 2009 is stacking up to be another dissapointment for me. I was thinking about adding another box to my yard and we'll see how the summer goes.....

Sounds like your kids are having a blast watching the owls!

Thanks for popping in and dropping me a note - much appreciated!

Incredible photos shared by the Flickr community group - Owls of North America. Click on the play button to begin the slideshow - ENJOY!