Owl Lullaby

by Stefani on 5-March-2010

I have to tell you that I felt a little gullible when I bought this owl house. How on earth was an owl going to find this ONE little hole on this ONE tree?

The boys had asked and asked though, and we had long looked at Amy’s owls with awe and adoration. Finally, when a birder in our neighborhood confirmed that there were indeed Eastern Screech Owls in our area that readily move into houses, I caved.

Still, I felt pretty certain that it was a long shot at best, and tried to quell the hopes of my young birders just a bit.

Just as soon as the house arrived, Daddy hung it in the tree and then they all watched from the back door, thinking that an owl would surely swoop in at any moment. No.

The next day, before even asking for breakfast, they all rushed to the door, like Christmas morning, fully expecting to see an owl in their box. No.

This went on for days, until eventually we looked a little less, and hoped a LOT less.

Then, one fine evening we walked out the back door, not even thinking about our owl house, and I happened to look up.

Lo and behold, our “Whinny” had taken up housekeeping there. It had been only 15 days since the house was hung. Amazing. How on earth did it know?

Now, everyday, around about 6:30 we watch his/her head poke out. It sits, calmly, groggily, and looks about for 20 minutes or so and then will swoop straight down and out just before hitting the ground. It’s breathtaking.

We all keep saying, “I can’t believe it! A real OWL! Right in our backyard!”

Just as Amy said it would, it has become all owl all the time! It’s a real shame that they emerge just when mamas are trying to get dinner finished. Who can worry about such trivial matters when there is an OWL with lovely yellow eyes staring in the back door? They do so look like they know something that they’re not telling when they look at you with those eyes.

Just two nights ago, we set up the tent in our backyard and had a family camp, in honor of our boy’s birthday. We told stories and made smores and then we all snuggled in, even the dog. We made one big pile, like snakes, for warmth. One by one they all drifted off, all but me. I lay awake for ages, thinking, dreaming, content, and then I heard it…. the sweet soft trill of our owl friend, perched just above our tent. He sang me to sleep with the prettiest little lullaby I’ve ever heard.

Welcome, Whinny. We think you’re grand!

**** Some fun owl resources****

Moon of the Owls – Sadly out of print, but there are still used copies available. This whole “Thirteen Moons” series is amazing. Each one is lyrical and lovely.

Birds of Prey (a Golden Guide) – You know by now how much I love these little guides, right?

Kidwings – virtual owl pellet dissection

Owl Brand Discovery Kits – real pellets for real dissection

Barn Owl Nest Cam – In Italy (Texas, that is) 🙂

Mama Urchin March 5, 2010 at 11:53 am

I’m so jealous! I love Amy’s owls too. Katie always wants to go owling like in Owl Moon.

Speaking of books, I keep meaning to email you to ask if you have a Spring book list. I feel like our seasonal boko box is so full of Autumn and Winter books, a few Summer books, and one Spring book (An Egg is Quiet). Do you have any recommendations?

Stefani March 8, 2010 at 8:10 am

Yes, yes I do!
I will put together a list and send it off to you tonight!

rae March 5, 2010 at 12:11 pm

um….WOW! whooo knew it could be so easy to have this majestic creature in your backyard?!! amazing.

Cassandra March 5, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Oh goodness! I want one! I know we have owls around…we see them swooping out of the trees down the road…so now I’m wondering about having one of our very own…

Stefani March 5, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Do it! Do it!!! It’s the coolest thing to see him pop his little head out each evening. I haven’t gotten tired of it yet!

Kobey March 5, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Kate and I used to listen (across the street from Stefani) to the owls in the very early morning. One of her few memories of Texas. A great early memory – don’t you think? I bet your new neighbor is related to our old friends.

Stefani March 5, 2010 at 2:15 pm

That IS a lovely early memory for her to have!
You know, I’ve heard them before, but I didn’t know it was an owl. I thought it was some kind of frog making that noise!
We often hear the great horned owl’s, “who who ha whooooo,” but I’ve never caught a glimpse.
Tell Kate we’ll promise to take very good care of her owl’s relations!

stephanie from texas March 5, 2010 at 1:00 pm

i am super duper jealous! my husband built me a bathouse and is in the final stages of painting it. i cannot wait to hang it up.

Stefani March 5, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Oh you’ll have to share when you have residents! We have one too, and hung it at the same time, but I think we need to move it a bit farther away. It’s rather near to the owl house, and I don’t think they’d make good neighbors 🙂 I heard that it can take much longer, even years, for the bats to decide to move in. I hope not though. Best of luck!

gina March 5, 2010 at 1:01 pm

very very cool!

Lia March 5, 2010 at 1:54 pm

That’s freaking awesome! I want one! But I know my husband will want to make it himself. Did you happen to look inside the box? Are there any grooves or ledges inside?

We had an Eastern Screech owl in our yard once. We thought it was injured because it was walking around in the ivy along our fence. We thought we were rescuing it. My husband put on heavy fireman’s gloves and picked it up. The boys and I made it a “nest” in a box with dishtowels. It sat there calmly, almost sleepily, while we watched it for quite a while. Then we went inside to research where to take it. When we came back out it was gone. We had probably just stressed it out catching it. The poor thing must have had a little rest and went its way.

Stefani March 5, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Nope… nothing on the inside. It did say to put a couple inches of wood shavings in the bottom, but there are no perches or grooves. I guess the wood is just rough enough for him to cling to the sides?

Your poor owl! That’s pretty funny! I did read somewhere that they often hop along the ground bushes catching insects. You don’t really expect that sort of thing of an owl though, so I can see how you’d think it was hurt.

I hope you have a house and resident soon!

Molly March 5, 2010 at 1:57 pm

So lucky! (And I ordered one of those Moon of the Owls books…) xo

Stefani March 5, 2010 at 2:20 pm

I just finished (in one sitting!) “Moon of the Winter Bird.” They really are such charming books, so full of things to learn without reading like text books at all. I hope you enjoy it!

sarah March 5, 2010 at 3:44 pm

how great is that? do you think owls that could fit in that sort of house would disturb chickens?

Stefani March 5, 2010 at 4:03 pm

I don’t think so. Chicks, but not chickens. They live on frogs, moths, small birds (finches and the like), lizards, mice, that sort of thing.

Sarah March 5, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Well, you know I think this awesome. Owls!

Blayne March 6, 2010 at 7:57 am

So cool! 🙂

kerrie March 6, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Wow, how exciting to have an owl in your backyard, your children must be thrilled.

Christina March 6, 2010 at 9:59 pm

That was so sweet! Your story about the lullaby almost made me cry! I’m off to research owls in KS! (We do have bats, and building a bat-house has been in the works for some time now! I hear they, eh-hem, “produce” excellent garden fertilizer!)

Deborah March 6, 2010 at 10:15 pm

That’s incredible!!

Hannah March 7, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Have your boys discovered Kathryn Lasky’s Guardians of Ga’Hoole series? My oldest love the books, and we all listened to one of them on CD in the car. All the main characters in that series are owls (think Watership Down but with owls instead of rabbits), and they’re different species of owls (barred, screech, barn, etc.). So in our current birds unit study, when we came upon owls in our Audubon guide, the kids were so thrilled to find pictures of the real-life versions of the Ga’Hoole owls. Yesterday at Explore UT, we visited the birding tables and saw three stuffed [real] owls. Again, they were yelping, “There’s Soren!” etc. Forgive the long tangent, but I love seeing them share my own excitement at making the connections between art and life in the natural world.

Stefani March 8, 2010 at 8:09 am

We have not, and they sound like something we should definitely look into! Thanks for the tip!
We didn’t make it down to UT this year, but our cousins were there and had a blast. We’re going to have to remember next year!

Diane March 7, 2010 at 7:18 pm

How wonderful! I have always wanted to put an owl box up, but alas, we have an outdoor bunny and that wouldn’t be a healthy prospect for him.
Blessings
Diane

natalie March 8, 2010 at 3:48 am

Holy cow that is so amazing!!! I am so going to see about our area. We have owls but how would I know if they’re keen on houses! We have a bat box and a swallow box… chicken coop next.

Wow wonders never cease!

Susan March 8, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Ooo, how exciting! I must share this with my hubby! Great post! Stefani, I just saw on Aimee’s blog that we are both in group two for the postcard swap – yay!

neisha March 8, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Wow, I LOVE, love, LOVE the owl story. Aren’t they so cute? Great photo capture, btw! We have had owls swoop into our vehicles before, but I never thought of having an owl house or box in the yard… great idea – and fun for the kiddos to observe. I enjoyed this story, and can’t wait to share the idea with my husband… maybe we can arrange for an Owl house of our own…??? I am representing Mississippi in Group #2 of the GAPS. I just wanted to drop by to say “hi”… can’t wait to get the GAPS going; it’s going to be fun, fun, fun.

Julie March 10, 2010 at 8:24 am

now that is just over the top cool and I must have an owl house pronto!!!

Nori Coleman April 9, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I want to get one, too. We used to have a schreech owl that lives in a sycamore tree down the street but it is never there any more. We have a nest on our front door in a wreath. Stop at our blog to see it.

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