Creating a Habitat for Screech Owls
On a cold winter day my favorite little screech owl recently spent the afternoon sunning.Dressed in its handsome feathered suit, my screech owl becomes almost invisible sitting in the opening of its nest hole. Usually hidden away in the day, every night just as dusk approaches it sits in the opening before venturing out to hunt under the cover of dark.
My wildlife habitat garden in rural Maryland provides food, water, cover and a place to raise young for this beautiful screech owl and many other fascinating wildlife. And food often abounds. Just as soon as the ice melts in spring my small backyard pond will swarm with a frenzy of wood frogs loudly calling for a mate. Thinking of nothing else, these quacking hormone-driven wood frogs are oblivious to the dangers of so vociferously calling as they float on the water surface. It is not uncommon for my screech owl to make a meal of a wood frog that is focused on nothing other than finding a mate.
As much as I love having screech owls in my Certified Wildlife Habitat, not all my local wildlife are as happy about it as I am. Even though the mating frogs ignore the screech owl at their own peril, some of the local chickadees and tufted titmice put up quite a fuss. They flit about the nest box while loudly screaming in alarm. The screech owl doesn’t seem to care much about the racket, and continues to slumber away at the bottom of its nest cavity.
I completed my habitat in 1997 and it was certified as No. 19,681 of the now more than 250,000 certified habitats. I’m sure many of the others who created a home for wildlife in their backyards also thrill at hearing the eerie sound of a screech owl calling in the night.