Can man-made nests save suburban owls?
Mike Amira is on the lookout. In residential areas, the probing eyes of the neighbourhood watch are always on the alert. Amira could be one of these guardians. But instead of criminals, Amira’s searching for vulnerable owls. The birds often reside near homes, coming into direct conflict with an array of suburban dangers. From being hit by cars and attacked by pets to eating poisoned rats, the results are never positive. Not unless Amira takes them under his wing.
Amira guides the injured birds into owl boxes, wooden birdhouses that he builds by hand. The base of the contraptions mimic cavities in a tree, allowing them to nest as they would in the wild. Innovations like this are crucial to their safety and the environment. “Owls are an integral part of our ecosystem,” Amira says. “They serve as amazing pest controllers.” To spread awareness about their importance, Amira shares tutorials on YouTube. In them, he details how to build the owl boxes and advises viewers on basic bird care.
“Owls have given me a purpose and it’s my duty to protect them,” Amira says. A lifetime of rescuing birds and hundreds of feathered friends later, he’s been dubbed ‘The Owl Box Man’. With urban growth creating a dire need for the makeshift nests, these birds could use all our help. Thanks to Amira’s enthusiasm and handiwork, the opportunity to save owls lies within a box in our gardens.