Barn Owl

The Birds > Nest Boxes > Barn Owl
click on the images to view the full-sized plans…

Click image to see full-sized planBarn Owls live and breed throughout the entire state. Most are migratory, but some birds remain resident year around. They are birds of open terrain, hunting in fields, meadows and farmlands. It is not uncommon to find Barn Owls living in parks, deserted lots and along railroad tracks. These raptors, more than any others, spend their lifetimes in close proximity to man.They nest in a wide variety of places including church towers, farm structures, semi-derelict (and often occupied) buildings, water tanks, under bridges, on drive-in movie screens and in silos and barns. Many potential nesting sites already exist and may only need slight modifications to allow Barn Owls to utilize them. Often, simply affording the birds access by unscreening a window, removing a slat from a steeple, or poking a hole here or there, will create an acceptable site.

Erecting nest boxes not only increases the available breeding sites for resident birds, but may attract birds into areas where they have not bred before. It may take a while for the box to be discovered and used, but not always. Two years ago in early June I installed a box in an unused silo where Barn Owls had been roosting. Three weeks later an owl was in the box, incubating eggs. She must have been waiting for me to show up with her nest.

Click image to see full-sized plan Two designs work well for Barn Owls. The open tray type is the easiest and least expensive to construct. This type should be used inside a barn. silo or other building where a roof or covering already exists. Place the box high in the structure where it will be inaccessible to house cats, raccoons, or too much human disturbance. The box can be nailed fast or hung with rope, wire or brackets.

The closed box type can be used in a topless silo, attached to the outside of an existing structure, erected on a pole or placed in a tree. When erecting on poles or trees remember to choose open areas, fields, meadows, etc. and face the entrance hole south.




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