Owls, Birds of the Night
Owls have long been a complex symbol to people and
are often misunderstood. In some cultures, owls represent death and
destruction, while they represent wisdom and prosperity in others. In
all cultures, though, owls have been and continue to be a captivating
part of the natural world. Despite ranging greatly in size from the
diminutive elf owl (6" tall) to the majestic great gray owl
(29" tall), most owls have similar characteristics and roles.
Most owls have large, bright yellow eyes that are fixed in their
sockets. Because its eyes are fixed, owls have developed the ability
to seemingly rotate their heads completely around. In reality, though,
owls cannot rotate their head completely around, but rotate it up to
135° in either direction to check out their periphery. The owls'
large eyes and dark coloration make these predators the perfect
nocturnal or twilight hunter. In addition to their night vision and
camouflage, most owls have developed a silent approach. A fluffy,
trailing edge on owls' flight feathers muffles sound and keeps their
flight almost undetectable.
Having owls near your home can offer a natural form of pest control.
As birds of prey, owls dine on pests like mice, rats, shrews, and
snakes. Great horned owls have even been known to prey on smaller owls
or falcons in addition to rodents. A healthy population of owls will
offer a chemical-free type of pest control and help keep the local
ecosystem balanced. Owls are such a strong deterrent to prey that owl
decoys can often frighten pests and other birds, keeping them from
raiding your garden or flower bed.
Naturally, owls tend to dwell in woodlands in cavities or abandoned
hawk or falcon nests. However, owls are often attracted to artificial
nest cavities. One way to entice owls into your yard is by placing an
owl house on a wall or tree. Eastern and western screech owl houses
are most successful if placed 10 to 30 feet high, with the entrance
facing north. Barn owls will often use a nest box placed at least 10
feet high, and a fair distance from human reach. Northern saw-whets
also enjoy cavity nesting and will use a nest box placed 13 to 20 feet
above the ground. If you wish to keep owls around your area, check to
see that no bright lights are in the area around the owl house or
nest, to prevent altering their daily rhythms. Also, ensure that there
are plenty of trees and shelter in the immediate area. Finally, make
sure that the area has a good food source for the owl. The forest edge
is an excellent area for rodents to congregate, making it perfect for
an owl's hunting ground.
The solitary and beautiful owl has mesmerized humans for centuries.
Its haunting call evokes our amazement at the beauty of nature. No
matter what it represents, an owl roosting in your yard can be a
wonderful experience. We carry a full line of owl houses and decoys.
For more personal assistance, feel free to call our customer service
representatives toll free at 877-562-1818 or internationally at
513-232-4225 from 9 AM to 5 PM Eastern Standard Time Monday through