One of the best ways to control rodentsis the old fashioned and completely non-toxic way – reliance on the hunting skills of owls. Some owls, like Great Horned Owls, are especially effective at this during nesting season and are often found in orchards or on farm woodlots. They will nest out in the open, so creating a nesting spot for them is fairly simple if you have the habitat. If you live in an area with hardwood trees, making and installing a nesting cone is surprisingly simple and makes for an easy family project you can do in the fall.
These huge owls will start looking for nests very soon, and Cornell recommends the nesting cone be in place in the fall so they can find it before they start nest building in February. These beautiful owls are in decline from Wisconsin through Ohio, so especially in these areas, a nesting cone could be a welcome help for a pair of Great Horned Owls looking for a good spot to build their nest. Check out these plans from Cornell, and join Nestwatch to report your sightings. Then, check off one more thing you are doing to help birds!