There are 19 owl species that live in the United States, giving you plenty of feathered friends to watch depending on your region. You may even be inclined to invite them into your yard to get a closer look.
If it’s okay to feed other birds, you can feed owls too, right? While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s not that straightforward.
Keep reading to find out why you shouldn’t feed wild owls and what you can do instead.
Why You’d Want to Feed Wild Owls
The simplest reason you’d want more wild owls on your property is to view their beauty. Millions of people across the world take up bird watching as a serious hobby, which includes owls when you’re lucky.
You may also want owls around to reduce your bug or rodent populations, as these are prime sources of nutrition for different owl species.
You could also have concerns about the dangers that owl populations face due to human activity. Burrowing owls, Snowy owls, and Northern Spotted owls are all threatened by loss of habitat in the United States.
Regardless of your intent, you should know that feeding owls can have a negative effect on them.
Why You Shouldn’t
To start, owls have fed themselves for countless years. They’re proficient hunters of the night, so they don’t need any help finding food.
Even on the threatened owl list, there aren’t any indications that an insecure food source is an issue for them.
When you feed them in your yard, they begin to associate humans with food. This is known as habituation, which leads to owls altering their behavior in unnatural ways. While it seems harmless, this can put them in danger as well as disrupt the local food web.
If you have small pets or farm animals, it can also put their lives at risk. Owls may pass up your feeder and instead make your furry friends their next meal.
Better Options to See These Amazing Creatures
Although feeding them is off the table, you can still work to attract owls to your home in a natural way.
Consider investing in one of the best owl nesting boxes available to provide them with habitat. If you go this route, be sure to install a deep water birdbath that they can take advantage of.
You can also keep your outside lights off at night and let your lawn grow longer. This creates prime hunting conditions for these nocturnal creatures, meaning they’re more likely to come to your yard to find themselves food.
This especially helps if you’re trying to see barn owls, as they love a tasty small mammal.
Whichever method you choose, keep your eyes peeled once the sun goes down and give it some time. Once the local owls realize that your home is the best place to be, you’ll get more opportunities to witness them in a harmless way.
Create a Better Habitat for Wild Owls
Now that you know not to feed wild owls, you can work to make your yard a more appealing place for them to live. That way, you can still enjoy their presence without disrupting their life cycle.
Keep reading our blog for more content about nature.