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Erichalfbee 

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Five years ago someone from the owl group of Suffolk Wild Life Trust visited my apiary and sold me a newly made barn owl box and advised me how high to put it in a large oak tree. No major roads nearby. Sadly I'm still waiting for a tenant.
Ours took two years to attract a pair. They have bred there every year since.
Can you trim the tree so that the box is easily visible from the air?
 

Amari 

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Ours took two years to attract a pair. They have bred there every year since.
Can you trim the tree so that the box is easily visible from the air?
Not easy. I'll post a pic tomorrow
 

Erichalfbee 

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Not easy. I'll post a pic tomorrow
I think that’s the essence if it. We trimmed surrounding beeches so an owl flying by could spot the hole in the box. They have since grown back largely but the owls are there now for keeps and hopefully for generations to follow.
 

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I would love to put up an owl box in our rear suburb garden but not sure if it is wise to, the garden backs on to a tree lined railway which has a stream/brook and a tow path the other side of it and there is nature park to the front front/side of the property. I know there may be a owl roost/nesting place near by because I here the hoo - hoo of which I assume is a male Tawny at the rear. Tawnies are said to be very defensive so likely not a good idea to near the houses and gardens.
 

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Well that was precisely what I was thinking until one night a few weeks back when I heard the shriek begin. It became very rapid, hardly any pause and finished with a warbling wooo oooo ooooooo.
That's when I thought hang on but then it did it again and again. Definitely the same bird as you could hear the vocal change mid shriek and always after the shrieking becoming very rapid. First time I've heard anything like it.
A gang of Magpies drove it out of the trees the other day, it flew on to my neighbour's garage, winked at me and flew back into the trees. A very handsome specimen.
After reading this I'm going to be out there listening more closely. There's certainly been shrieking here recently that I haven't heard in other years. (I wondered at first if it was another kind of owl.) Thought it might be a teenage stage having read a bit online it sounds as though these are probably to do with struggles for territory.
Can I post a link? This is interesting (and the clips fun to hear): Tawny Owl - The Sound Approach They're obviously more excitable than I realised!
 
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Erichalfbee 

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After reading this I'm going to be out there listening more closely. There's certainly been shrieking here recently that I haven't heard in other years. (I wondered at first if it was another kind of owl.) Thought it might be a teenage stage having read a bit online it sounds as though these are probably to do with struggles for territory.
Can I post a link? This is interesting (and the clips fun to hear): Tawny Owl - The Sound Approach They're obviously more excitable than I realised!
We hear all sorts of tawny noises. We have a tawny box in the garden. After the young have fledged they often sit in a rose arch shrieking for food for ages. The adults talk to each other with burbling sounds.
The barn owls hiss.
 

Swarm 

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After reading this I'm going to be out there listening more closely. There's certainly been shrieking here recently that I haven't heard in other years. (I wondered at first if it was another kind of owl.) Thought it might be a teenage stage having read a bit online it sounds as though these are probably to do with struggles for territory.
Can I post a link? This is interesting (and the clips fun to hear): Tawny Owl - The Sound Approach They're obviously more excitable than I realised!
Yes, we've had Tawny Owls in the trees for years and hear the usual calls associated with them, either one or the other. I should have mentioned how loud it was as well, it set all the dogs off.
 

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I think that’s the essence if it. We trimmed surrounding beeches so an owl flying by could spot the hole in the box. They have since grown back largely but the owls are there now for keeps and hopefully for generations to follow.
Here are the pics (dark cloudy day). Yes, the box is heavily overhung although the horizontal approach is clear. Faces north. There are barn owls around.
IMG_0491.JPGIMG_0493.JPGIMG_0491.JPGIMG_0493.JPG
 

Erichalfbee 

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I would definitely get a chainsaw to a couple of branches above that box. What’s inside it? Maybe something has lived in there. Might be worth clearing it out and putting some sawdust in.
 

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@Amari , that box has been used as you can tell by the worn off stain around the entrance. It's good to have branches close to the box as it helps the young owls to practice short flights; so I think it's well placed. It might have been used by owls or other birds sufficiently that it has a deep build-up of bedding inside. If the exit hole becomes too close to the nest height there is a danger that the young owls will be able to put themselves in danger too early in their development, so the owls will overlook it as a nest site.

In daylight you wouldn't ever know there were owls in the box from the ground and when nesting you will only see them in a short window of time at twilight. Though if you lived by the box you would definitely have heard the owlets.

It would be worth having a look inside just now and see if it needs a clean-out...best left completely empty. It's also worth checking how secure it is after these few years because obviously, it would be a disaster if it landed on anyones head!
 

Erichalfbee 

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@Amari ,

It would be worth having a look inside just now and see if it needs a clean-out...best left completely empty. It's also worth checking how secure it is after these few years because obviously, it would be a disaster if it landed on anyones head!
The mess that barn owls live on has to be seen to be believed. We clean ours out every two years and leave a little sawdust. We discovered barn owls were there after spotting pellets at the bottom of the tree and whitewash poo at the bottom of a nearby branch. We never saw any till we put a camera up to cover the entrance. Now we see them in our garden and surrounding fields.
A word of warning to Amari. Careful looking in :)
 

fiat500bee 

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Careful looking in :)
That's what has always put me off.....they are very elusive. I mntion the safety check because our box fell off after five years. So I welded together a two-part framework which bolts together around the tree and positively grips the trunk without penetrating it. The box has a steel support bolted to the back and this hitches over the tree-clamp. I had to put up a scaffold tower in order to place the whole assembly in safety.
 

Erichalfbee 

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That's what has always put me off.....they are very elusive. I mntion the safety check because our box fell off after five years. So I welded together a two-part framework which bolts together around the tree and positively grips the trunk without penetrating it. The box has a steel support bolted to the back and this hitches over the tree-clamp. I had to put up a scaffold tower in order to place the whole assembly in safety.
We looked in one morning with a view to clean the box out and an owl flew up and out. Stan nearly fell off the ladder. He took out inches of old pellets!!!!
 

Erichalfbee 

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That's what has always put me off.....they are very elusive. I mntion the safety check because our box fell off after five years. So I welded together a two-part framework which bolts together around the tree and positively grips the trunk without penetrating it. The box has a steel support bolted to the back and this hitches over the tree-clamp. I had to put up a scaffold tower in order to place the whole assembly in safety.
Any chance of a picture?
We need to replace one and I'm in contact with The Barn Owl Conservancy Trust to work out how to go about it.
 

Amari 

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@Amari , that box has been used as you can tell by the worn off stain around the entrance. It's good to have branches close to the box as it helps the young owls to practice short flights; so I think it's well placed. It might have been used by owls or other birds sufficiently that it has a deep build-up of bedding inside. If the exit hole becomes too close to the nest height there is a danger that the young owls will be able to put themselves in danger too early in their development, so the owls will overlook it as a nest site.

In daylight you wouldn't ever know there were owls in the box from the ground and when nesting you will only see them in a short window of time at twilight. Though if you lived by the box you would definitely have heard the owlets.

It would be worth having a look inside just now and see if it needs a clean-out...best left completely empty. It's also worth checking how secure it is after these few years because obviously, it would be a disaster if it landed on anyones head!
Thanks for the above comments Dani and Fiat.
Yes, I've noticed the 'worn off stain'. I'll get a ladder and look in. I'm rarely up there at dusk so anything is possible.
 

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