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outdoors

Owl boxes support wildlife and education


May 29, 2013

LIBERTY, NY — After taking a substantial cut from the county budget, Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Sullivan County put out an emergency appeal to its supporters. Many people came forward with monetary donations, offers to volunteer, and most recently an offer to build screech owl boxes to sell.

When Richard Schulman heard about Cornell extension’s financial dilemma, he had the idea of building screech owl boxes to sell as a fundraiser for CCE. Schulman, a retired poultry farmer, lumberman, and long-time member of the extension, struggled with mice eating the vegetables in his garden last year, so he knows the benefits of attracting owls, a natural predator to rodents, to one’s property.

Eastern Screech Owls are native to Sullivan County and can be drawn to an area if a wooden box is suspended about 10 to 15 feet above the ground, on a tree near a wooded area. These owls eat large insects, mice, moles, and other pests that may invade a garden.

Each owl box, locally built and donated by Schulman, costs $40 and comes with information about the owls, screws for hanging, and a starter packet of nesting materials. All proceeds go towards supporting the educational programming provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension for Sullivan County residents and visitors. To purchase an owl box, call 845/292-6180 or email smd243@cornell.edu.