Sunday, February 22, 2009

Picking on Perfectly Nice Squirrels

One part I hate about maintaining the owl nest box cam' is picking on squirrels, critters of which I'm quite fond. Unfortunately, one moved into the nest box yesterday night, though I noticed too late to do anything about that. Tonight, there were two squirrels curled-up in the box, but this time I noticed early enough to go through the drill of unrolling all the cables, bringing down the nest box, opening it up, evicting the squirrels, closing it up, hoisting the box back into its mount in the tree, and rolling up and stowing all of the cables.

No fun for me, or the squirrels.

On the plus side, it did give me a chance to do an extra cleaning of the interior, including a complete replacement of the bedding materials. The metaphorical ball is once again in the owls' court.


  1. Alison in Austria2:05 AM CST

    I know it is an owl box, and your special project is indeed owls, and we all love them. BUT, if this year the squirrels win, would it be too much to ask that you just leave the camera on and we can silently watch squirrels. No need to comment or updated the screech owl site or any of that. But the arrival of new wild life is entertaining (or even exciting, depending on what is going on at the moment) to watch. I do not think I have heard about a squirrelcam showing the raising of young out on the web (there are some showing feeders). I did find a notice that at "The Squirrels Nest-cam was taken over by an Eastern Screech Owl."

  2. Anonymous11:03 PM CST

    Heres a link for a sqwuirrel cam and screech owl at Bobs place..

  3. In my experience, evicting them is a matter of giving them the message: "This is not a safe place to raise young ones."
    I've already evicted squirrels once this year. It was as simple as tossing tiny little pebbles at the box (being very careful to miss the squirrel poking his head out the box). He left in a hurry, and didn't come back.
    A few years ago, when clapping my hands didn't work, I reached up with a very long, very thin tree branch, and tapped the box very lightly near the hole the squirrel was peeking out. As soon as I backed off, he fled, and the owls moved in soon thereafter.
    It's not that I begrudge the squirrels a home. It's just that the squirrels can have any of a number of homes, including their more normal self-build leaf nests in the trees. The Screech Owls, on the other hand, are just desperate for suitable holes, especially in a city where people are very quick to cut down anything resembling a sick or dead tree or limb.

    Alison, the other reason that it wouldn't help much for Chris to leave the box to the squirrels, is that they would fill it with leaves, and you wouldn't see much. Not to mention the damage they would do to the interior. You can see an example here:

  4. I can't wait!

  5. Eagerly anticipating the 2009 owl season, Chris! All the best to you and your owls.