Chris' Screech Owl Nest Box for 1999/2000

The eastern screech owl nest box used here is a prototype that provides a nesting cavity of 8" x 8" x 17". The entrance hole is 3" in diameter, and is located 12" above the floor. A 1/4" vent slot runs two inches above the entrance hole. This nest box design provides for removable left and right side modules, a removable roof module, and a fold-down front for easy interior access.

The images presented here were acquired by a monochrome video camera mounted in a camera box installed in the right side module socket. The camera is sensitive to both visible and infrared (IR) light, and its enclosure includes an array of infrared illuminators (partly visible in top corners of the images). A pane of glass separates the occupants of the nest box from the interior of the camera box. Another pane prevents access to the "attic" area and the roof module (dimly visible at the top of the images). The left side module socket is filled with a wall module, the interior surface of which is conventional pegboard (rough side exposed). The one inch spacing between holes in the pegboard provides a convenient means of measuring objects in the box.

As with my previous owl nest boxes, an infrared beam shot across the entry hole allows a computer to detect and log entries to, and exits from, the box. This easily detects the comings and goings of birds, squirrels and other sizeable critters, but it is oblivious to the geckos as they prefer to come and go by way of the 1/4" vent slot above the entry hole.


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