We're calling him (or her) Rufus. Some of our Tufted Titmice announced his arrival yesterday (while he was napping)--hollering, zooming around the roosting site,
actually sitting in the box opening
--generally making nuisances of themselves and trying to let the world know that a Predator was in the House.
The nest box was built and hung to encourage our white squirrel population. The box dimensions, however, are also useful for small raptors like kestrels and ... small owls. This Eastern Screech Owl has evidently decided that we have a good supply of dinner around here. And he likes the shelter from the bucket loads of precipitation we've had lately. Click on the photo for a full-size image so you can get a good look at the feathers--he really is gorgeous.
The picture is misleading. I swear the guy is 40% head. Makes a little poof-ball with feet when he's out on a branch. Four of them would easily fit in the box. His regular diet includes small rodents, earthworms, insects... and songbirds. Apparently very fond of European Starlings. I've told him to concentrate on those, please. He didn't seem very receptive. Also totally unimpressed with me and my camera. We'll keep you posted, but I will not be staying up nights to keep an eye on him!
Thanks for reading--