Dec 19, 2014 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, December 2014

Readers Write: Waiting in Line

Nest boxes intended for squirrels can become a home to other species, including honeybees and screech-owls.
Share:

When my son, Ryan, and daughter, Amanda, were around 5 and 3 years old, we built our first squirrel box as a family project. Soon after placing it high in our maple trees, squirrels began to entertain as we watched their babies grow and frolic in and on top of the box—our gift to them.

Many years of squirrel observations took a detour when our squirrel box became the host of a hive of honeybees. Entertaining as it was, we decided it would be best to give away the beehive in the interest of safety of our children. A call to a local beekeeper brought to our mighty maple a man with a ladder and a "smoking cigar." A quick ascent of the ladder, a mighty puff of cigar smoke into the opening, and a quick seal with duct tape, our squirrel box full of valuable bees was rushed away in the back of a pickup truck.

Semi-retired 35 years later, I decided to relive the good times past by placing a new squirrel box in our mulberry tree. After two months of squirrellessness, I was surprised late one evening to see a strange protrusion from the hole in the front of the box. It was a screech-owl!

While enjoying the afternoon sun on the day of the first frost in Kansas, I was pleased to observe and photograph a brief encounter between a squirrel and the owl—on and in my squirrel box. I guess it's an owl box now!

About Michael Hurst

Mike is a semi-retired pharmacist who enjoys international travel and watching backyard birds from his deck in Wichita, Kansas.

What do you think? Tell us!

comments powered by Disqus

New On This Site

The Latest Comments

  • New to birding...newbie question. We spotted what we thought was a Sapsucker at our patio feeders in December. The folks at our birding supply store told us that Sapsuckers are only here in Summer months and what we saw was a Flicker. I thought I new what a Flicker was and this did not look like a Flicker. It was thinner and more smooth looking but did have the Woodpecker Bill.
    by Edmund Steinman, Wed, 08 Jan 2020
  • We just signed up and get your magazine via email. Will we be receiving a printed copy?Ed [email protected]
    by Edmund Steinman, Wed, 08 Jan 2020
  • Chickadees are adorable and intelligent. Chickadees have brains that are the most like human brains. Chickadees are personable, lively, and have their own language. Chickadees form lasting pair bonds; and are very good parents. Love.
    by Merl Elton, Tue, 24 Dec 2019
  • I'm still worried about my backyard birds even though myth #3 says they won't starve if I stop feeding in the middle of winter. I'm concerned because I'm moving in a couple of weeks to a new house and the winter's in northern Ohio get pretty challenging. Should I start backing off slowly on there food or just stop when we move?
    by Vince Bove, Sat, 14 Dec 2019
  • Birds make our world a wonderful and beautiful place to live.
    by Mac Eco, Mon, 09 Dec 2019