Welcome back, screech owl!


A few weeks ago I noticed a regular daytime napper in a tree beyond our garden. Was it the same owl who’s just moved into our owl box?


I’ve studied this grumpy face, but I just can’t be sure.


I’d thought it might be a male in the tree, perhaps nightly feeding a brooding female in the box. But since the owl in the box made its presence known by perching in the doorway each afternoon, we haven’t seen the owl in the tree.


At any rate, I sure hope this is a mama owl waiting for her eggs to hatch, or taking care of chicks. I’d love to see a few more fuzzy owlets peering from the box this spring.

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

17 Responses

  1. TexasDeb says:

    I haven’t investigated, but wonder if owls are territorial in ways that would have them returning to the same nesting spot year after year? Whether this is the same owl family or even if it is a new one, it is hard to resist that face. I know these are owls and not people, but I can’t help casting that as a grumpy look you are getting. Your owl will have to learn – paparazzi are part of the price of her fame.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      TexasDeb, we’ve wondered that too and have studied the owls’ pictures from year to year, and we concluded that different owls do nest in the box. However, that seems to contradict the official info I’ve read, which says screech owls mate for life and defend a particular territory. So whooooo knows. —Pam

  2. Alison says:

    Hooray for a new season of owls in the owlbox! I too hope it’s a female with a brood.

  3. Jenny says:

    They have obviously found a safe and happy home in your garden. I think they do return. At least the one at the WFC seems to return to the same place every year. Either way you are doing something right. Our owl box remains empty for another year. There were a lot of birds fussing around it the other day. Flying back and forward from the edge of the hole. I was convinced it was a squirrel so had D check. No squirrel in there but no owl either. When the owl is sitting on eggs can she still be seen?

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I wonder why your owl box isn’t attracting a nesting pair. Have you tried moving it to a new location? As for brooding screech owls’ visibility, my theory is that we don’t see her when she’s sitting on the eggs but only after they’ve hatched. The male, I’ve read, feeds her when she’s sitting on eggs, but I believe both hunt and feed the chicks. Now that we’re seeing an owl in the doorway, I’m hopeful it means there are chicks down in the box. It’s just a guess though. —Pam

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Lucky you having a Screech Owl for garden entertainment. Besides the fact that it will eat any mice, voles etc.

  5. Jara says:

    Wow amazing pictures! I live in a city and I don’t think I have ever seen an owl that close…
    Very nice blog!:)

  6. Kelly says:

    I have an owl box as well that I put up last September. No owls as of yet, but lots of squirrels. How do you keep the squirrels out? Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I don’t know of any way to keep them out, Kelly. Since owls only use the box from late winter through spring, I don’t worry too much about it in summer or fall. But starting in December and through February, I observe it for squirrel activity, and if I see a squirrel using it — or nesting material sticking out — I climb up (actually, I get my husband to climb up) and pull out any nesting material. Usually two evictions will be enough to convince the squirrel to give up. Put a layer of 1-2 inches of clean, dry leaves in the bottom of the box, and now it’s ready for an owl to move in. —Pam

  7. I wished I had sought out the owl who I heard in the arroyo’s oaks by the old house…but seeing your’s last year was god enough. Quite the science to how they and other birds behave, nest.

  8. Hi sweetie!!!! Glad to see you back!!!!

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