As the weather gets warmer and the rain (hopefully) goes away, a lot of Preston Hollow residents are seeing predatory bird species like owls in their yards, or even in their homes. While they are gorgeous creatures, it is important to know how to deal with owls safely.

Several residents have posted their owl houses on Nextdoor, with dozens of comments in support of the animals and questions of how to create a structure like this. 

First, there are several things that could be in your yard that could harm an owl. One is any sort of net, which they are known to get caught in. Putting away soccer nets and other equipment with netting on it could prevent an owl from becoming stuck.

“Many owls that get caught in soccer nets do not fare as well and suffer from broken wings, deep lacerations or significant bruising,” said Dawn Keller on Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation’s website. “Soccer net injuries can even cause such significant damage that birds are never again able to fly or return to the wild.”

Other potential harms in your yard include windows and rodenticide. Insect screens, window paint, or any other deterrent can prevent birds from flying straight into your window and injuring themselves. Rodenticide can harm birds who eat the poisoned rodents, so if you are aware of owls in your area, refrain from using it. The predatory birds should take care of rodents effectively. 

If you see an owl stuck or injured on your property, you can take it to a nearby wildlife rehabilitation center. Rogers Rehabilitation Inc. is Dallas County’s registered wildlife rehab for predatory birds. 

Rogers says the best way to catch the bird is to throw a towel or cloth over it and gently pick it up. Do not feed the bird or attempt to get it to drink, as you could further harm it. 

“If you have been caring for a wild bird, you should bring it to an avian wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible,” Rogers’ website says. “ We understand your good intentions but the average American home is not the place for a wild bird. The sooner the bird can be given a proper diet and medical care, the better its chances.”

Once your yard is safe for owls, you can install an owl box. It is not only safe to install an owl box in your yard, it helps both you and the owl. Installing an owl box can reduce the amount of rodents on your property and gives the owl a place to safely rest during the day. 

Nesting boxes can be installed 10-20 feet above the ground, facing south to avoid wind and away from other potential predators, according to Garth Clifford, an avid birder, on the WorldBirds website.

Owls may take time to move in, but are more likely to do so if you don’t have outdoor pets, leave outside lights off, and have plenty of grass and trees near you. 

Can’t put a nesting box up? You can also support by donating to rehabs like Rogers Rehabilitation Inc., which rehabilitates injured or orphaned birds.