|Look dead center. They are very |
I won't even elevate it to theory. It is the Ten Year Wildlife Cycle. The cycle holds that wildlife populations decline and expand in 10 year cycles naturally (actually 9.3 years) based on a lunar something-or-other. Why then, during the nadir of the decline on Skidaway were 24 screech-owls heard on one night on St Catherines Island*, Liberty County, and 7 owls heard early one morning at an undeveloped location in Chatham County? However, in one long-term study this cycle held. Nevertheless, is there another answer? Probably.
|In the end of a tree limb|
|One of the Audubon boxes with a 'gray phase' screech-owl. |
The shot above right is a 'red phase' bird.
There is no difference
|What is that on top of the box?|
Sarah Lucas was the proud keeper of that one owl, and there were a couple of lessons to come from that. First, owls like to hunt by flying over open ground at night looking and listening for exposed prey such as mice (they will eat pretty much anything, including earthworms and moths). Sarah backs up to one of the golf courses. Aha!
|A regurgitated pellet with hair and bone|
Finally, you can identify them by sound. Here is an excellent source for their varied calls: Eastern-Screech-Owl vocalizations
Aluminum flashing, available at Home Depot or Lowes in 10 foot lengths, 20 inches wide, can be installed around the tree just under the box. This has proven effect in other locations. If you are particular about not damaging the tree, there are instructions for alternatives at For the rest of us, screwing 2 inch wood screws at the top of the flashing will secure it.
In summary then, boxes can help the cause of screech-owls, on Skidaway, and they should be mounted where there is open space like a lawn close by for them to forage at night. Wild Birds Unlimited carries them or can order them. If you or your spouse is handy with tools you can build one using the following directions: nest box plans.
Ideally you will have a perch on the inside below the entry hole to allow the young to hoist themselves up. And, remember to line the box with wood shavings or pine straw to about 3 inches since the owls will not build their own nest.
*This is the correct spelling for St. Catherines. The possessive apostrophe is not used.