Where is the box located?
The owl box is located in San Marcos, California in a suburban backyard. There is a tree just outside the opening.
Who made it?
This box was made by falconer and arborist Tom Stephan.
How high up is the box?
The box is on a 15-foot pole.
How long has it been there?
The box has been up for two years, and it took two years before Molly and McGee arrived. No other owls have tried to use the box.
Where can I get an owl box for my yard?
If you google “barn owl nest box”, you can find instructions to build your own or buy a kit. You can also find them for purchase through bird shops and feed stores.
Did the owl box have the nest already in it?
No. Before February 2010, there were no owls or bedding in this box.
What is her nest made out of?
The gray, fluffy nesting material you see in the box is feathers and fur Molly has regurgitated, called pellets. She picks apart the pellet and — voila! — bedding!
What is the “pantry”?
If you use the Ustream chat feature, you’ll notice people saying that Molly has a food item “in the pantry”. This isn’t an official term, but describes Molly’s tendency to eat part of an animal and then set some of it aside for later. She usually leaves it in the near left corner of the box, just out of sight of the camera.
Can the owls be heard in the yard?
Yes. In fact, it was a neighbor who discovered that Molly and McGee had arrived in the The Owl Box, because he heard them screeching during the night. During the day, there are so many birds singing that they are harder to hear.
Can snakes get up to the box?
We get this question a lot and want to reassure readers that there aren’t any snakes in this part of California that can climb a 15-foot pole.
Does anyone clean the box when they leave?
No, this nesting material will be useful for future broods.
Where do barn owls nest if a box such as this is unavailable?
Barn owls prefer dry cavities for their nesting sites and will often use tree hollows and buildings. In fact, in some parts of Germany decorative holes (called “uhlenloch“) allow owls to nest in the attics of homes.
Wow! I can hear a lot of noises! What are all the things I hear outside?
The microphone on the camera is very sensitive. In addition to hearing the owlets inside the egg, you can also hear dogs from a half-mile away, roosters, killdeer, finches, mocking birds, coyotes, traffic, planes, insects, wind, and, very rarely, the hoot of a Great Horned Owl.
Sometimes you can also hear the neighbor’s Great Danes, Cassie and Jackson, and their big, deep “Woof!”