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Wildlife Control: Owls

Owls can be seen as friendly creatures. They’re cute and prey on pesky rodents and insects so we often view them as being harmless or even handy. However, they can have a negative impact on us. Yes, they prey on pesky rodents but they can often attack household pets. Owls can also cause property damage to residential and commercial buildings. Here is some more information on the bird and what can be done to control them:

Owl

Species

There are over 200 species of owls and they can be found on every continent in the world except for Antarctica. They come in all different shapes, colours and sizes but they can be identified by their flat faces, large eyes and ability to rotate their heads at least 270 degrees.

Here are the species of owls that are found in Ontario:

  • Barred owl
  • Northern saw-whet owl
  • Great horned owl
  • Long-eared owl
  • Short-eared owl
  • Eastern screech owl
  • Snowy owl
  • Screech owl
  • Barn owl
  • Boreal owl
  • Grey owl

Owl in habitat

Habitat

Owls prefer to dwell in forests. They make nests in trees but have been known to steal the nests of other birds. They like to live in spaces where they blend into the surrounding environment so they can camouflage and hide when they’re inactive during the day. Their habitats include trees, tree trunks, shrubs and bushes. They perch high to look for their prey but don’t often make nests in treetops.

Harm to Small Animals

Owls are particularly harmful to farmers or households with small outdoor pets. If you have a property with a yard or field and you have animals such as small dogs, chickens, cats or rabbits running free, you may run into problems with owls. Great-horned owls are particularly infamous for preying on these unsuspecting victims.

Owl looking for prey

Small Animal Solutions

If you notice owls are in your neighbourhood, a simple solution is to create a shelter for your animals if they need to be outside. Great horned owls typically only prey on one animal per night. If you become aware of the presence of owls you have to time to prepare before your animals are affected. It’s also smart to clear trees or any other potential perches where owls can nest near your property. If you don’t want to cut down any trees, simply erecting a scarecrow can frighten owls off of your property and protect your pets and livestock.

Scarecrow

Harm to People

Owls are not generally known to attack people. However, like some other birds of prey, if you accidentally get too close to their nests, especially when their nests have eggs or young chicks, they will lash out. Their talons are extremely sharp and can cause serious damage to humans. If you come across an owl’s nest on your residential or commercial property, never attempt to move it yourself. Steer clear and call an expert at Pestend. We specialize in humane wildlife control and will help you remove the nest.

Noise

On top of potentially preying on small pets and fowl and harming people, birds are extremely noisy creatures. Since they are nocturnal, they hoot and cry at all hours of the night. They communicate by chirping, whistling, screeching and shrieking. If the birds are close enough to your house you can hear their noises which can be detrimental to your sleeping schedule.

Netting

Another option for keeping owls off of your property is to use bird netting to seal off the trees surrounding your property. Owls will either see the netting and avoid the area or get stuck in the netting. If you notice an owl has gotten stuck, again, contact Pestend Our wildlife control specialists will ensure the owl is freed humanely.

Bird netting

Owls in The House

Owls can also make their way into your home through chimneys. They may mistake the chimney for a perch and accidentally end up inside your house or building. Owls can cause a lot of damage by flying around and breaking belongings or even windows and excreting everywhere. If an owl has somehow made its way into your residential or commercial property, flee the premises and let Pestend know. It’s not a good idea to try to either trap or remove an owl by yourself as they could hurt you. Our staff is trained to safely and humanely handle the situation and make sure the bird does not cause any further damage.