Constructing a Barred Owl Nest Box

The barred owl is one of the most recognizable owls in North America, particularly in the U.S. Having one around in your compound is a dream for many bird lovers and bird watchers. One of the best ways to accord yourself the opportunity to watch barred owls is to construct a shelter for them around your compound, thus attracting them to live near you.

Constructing a barred owl nest box is not such a daunting task.  On the contrary, it can be a very thrilling experience to pass your time in and engage your constructive side.  On the other hand, if you’d prefer to purchase a barred or barn owl house just follow that link.

There are a number of different plans that require different procedures and plans. This plan is as flexible in terms of size as it can be adjusted to other sizes. More importantly it is a guide to building barred owl nest boxes that are long lasting. The floor plan described herein is of a nest box measuring 19”x19”.

You will need a ¾” exterior grade plywood measuring 4×8 although there will be some remaining plywood pieces. If you have leftover pieces of plywood, you can use them instead of purchasing a new piece of plywood. It is a good idea to use pressure treated plywood if you do not intend to weatherproof the nest box. You will also require cutting tools such as a circular saw, a drill, jigsaw and a miter saw (although it not mandatory to have a miter saw).

Assembly Procedures

Cut five pieces of the plywood all measuring 24″x19”. The five cut pieces will form the top and the sides of the nest box. Stain all the cut pieces with a preservative and give the pieces ample time to dry. Once dry, assemble the sides of the side using 2” wood screws, making sure that none protrude into the box. You want to be sure the owls don’t get caught up on a screw.

After the assembly of the sides is complete, measure and cut out the floor of the box and treat it with the preservative. For this particular specs, the floor will measure approximately 19″x19”. If you use different width sized plywood, the size of the floor will vary.

Fasten by screwing the floor after the piece has dried. Cut the entrance hole on one of the sides of the box. This is where a jigsaw comes in handy. The entrance hole should be approximately (6”x6”) in diameter. Stick two small pieces of plywood together and screw them. Fix this piece on the inside part of the box just below the entrance. This piece provides owlets with a standing platform.

Fix the roof with the last remaining 19”x24” piece. Find a piece of branch that solid, about 2 inches thick and longer than the width of the nest box. Fasten this piece just below the entrance leaving some 1 to 1 ½ inches of space between the branch and the face of the side.

With this, your box nest is complete and ready for placement in a tree. Placing of the nest box should be done at about 15 to 20 feet off the ground in order to attract owls.

And lastly, check out this video of the barred owl mating calls. Awesome!

What You Should Know About Screech Owl Nesting Season

There are many varieties of animals that live in the wild that are also capable of nesting in and around homes. One advantage of inviting owls to your property is that you will experience a reduction in rodents. However, there are a few things that you should know about screech owl nesting season before you begin to attract them to your land.


First of all, these birds are incredibly adaptive and have been able to reside comfortably in the suburbs as well as the wild. You will need to consider how much property you have, and the surrounding land, prior to setting up any nests on your land. For example, you do not want to invite birds that are likely to encounter predators or other harmful things, such as traffic or poison.

If you are going to place nesting homes for these owls, you should also think about utilizing bird baths and appropriate bird feeders in order to properly entice them to your land. In fact, if you have a pond or body of water on your land, this can help to attract the owls and their prey.

You should also take note of what type of owls already inhabit the area where you live. Great horned owls and barred owls are both predators of screech owls. You do not want to invite them to your land during screech owl nesting season if they are only going to become prey for these larger owls.

There are various types of homes that you can place on your land in order to attract the screech owl.  For tips on building a screech owl box go here.  The owls respond well to most natural and man-made homes, provided that they have everything they need in the area. While these owls will eat bugs, they require a fair amount of rodents, small reptiles, or other protein rich food in order to survive. Additionally, a good source of fresh water for drinking and grooming is essential.

If you live near a stream or river, it is another source of potential food for the screech owl. They have been seen grabbing fish from streams in order to supplement their land-dwelling fare. However, this is not absolutely necessary if you have sufficient prey and water on or around your property.

Make sure that you set up any houses for them before nesting season begins. Ideally, these will be visible to wild birds that are flying by, enticing them to set up home in your area. Utilize several homes in order to give them the best opportunity to select what each one perceives as ideal. If you have several nesting areas for them to select from, you are more likely to have them mate and nest on your property.

If you have any questions about the screech owls in your area, do some research prior to setting up your nest boxes. The more you understand about these birds and their habits, the better you will be able to accommodate them and provide a safe home.

Barn Owl Nesting Season

Barn owls mate for life and once they have located and decided on a nesting site that is suitable to them, they will return to the same spot year after year to have their young. When they are in the wild, they will seek out tree cavities or crevices in rock formations, but they are just as comfortable in taking advantage of some of the man-made structures that they run across as well.

When it comes time for the barn owl nesting season you may see and hear them roosting in the backyard or in a nearby park as they have adapted very well to being close to humans in their habits of nesting and raising a family.

Most noted for keeping the rodent population under control, it is estimated that the average barn owl will consume around 1,500 rodents per year. When the young owls begin to feed, they can put away up to five rodents per day.

The numbers of owls have increased over the past several years, in large part due to people being aware of their presence, and the placing of owl boxes in strategic, but protected places where the owls can roost, mate, and feel safe.

Barn owls generally start looking for a mate in November, and they begin mating in late December or in early January. The secret to attracting the owls to the nesting boxes is the proper placement of the boxes. It is optimal to pick a site that is around some trees, as the owls feel that this gives them some protection. Then the boxes should be place at a height of at least 12 feet off of the ground and at least 15 feet away from any human activity.

The box ideally should look over a clearing, where also the trees will provide shade on a daily basis from the intensity of the sun. The design of the box is important as well, as if it is too small it won’t accommodate the owls and the family that is about to come along.

Barn owls will generally lay from 8 to 12 eggs, and if the box is too small, then some of the chicks won’t have enough room and they may be forced out of the box.

Sometimes people will find chicks that are on the ground after having fallen from the nest. If they are uninjured, you can attempt to put them back into the nest. It is a myth that you should never touch animals because if you touch them, the mother will reject them. Consequently, chicks that are not injured can be returned to the original nest if you can find it.

Barn owls can be as long as 20 inches and have a wingspan of almost 4 feet. Their wings are serrated in a similar manner as a comb is. This little trick allows them to attack an enemy silently.

You can look out for the owls during the barn owl nesting season. Barn owls are not the owls that you hear hooting, but those are probably the great horned or screech owl.  Barn owls make a very distinctive and scary sounding screech and hiss.

Tips for Barn Owl House Placement

If you have rodents on your property and wish to use natural means to rid yourself of them, attracting barn owls is one of the best ways to do so. However, you need to carefully consider where to place the owl boxes before you begin. Doing so will provide the highest level of assurance that owls will start to inhabit the boxes you have placed on your property for them.  For advice on placing owl boxes talk to our friends at

If you have been using poisonous means to control your rodent population, it is vital that you wait at least three months before the installation of your owl houses. Otherwise, you run the risk of the owls eating rodents that have ingested poison and thus potentially killing the owls too.

The best time of year to place the boxes is generally January through March, although barn owls are known to mate two times per year so it is safe to install the boxes throughout the year. The further south your property, the earlier you should begin. This will give the owls the best opportunity to find the homes before mating season.

It is generally recommended that you give each mating barn owl pair sufficient area to hunt and thus spreading the boxes out to roughly 1 box every 5 to 10 acres, depending on the amount of food sources in the area. The male and female in a couple do not necessarily co-inhabit a home, but you do want the males close enough for mating. Once you have the majority of homes inhabited on your land, you can add others as you feel appropriate.

Make sure that you never place these homes on or close to utility lines or roads. Owls tend to fly low, and being near a highway can be lethal for them. Also, utility poles are meant for electricity, not animal homes.

You should attempt to keep the boxes away from human activity as much as possible, especially swimming pools. The young can easily drown in these, so pools and ponds should be out of their field of view when in or around their box.

The ideal placement for a barn owl house is a post that has strong trees 30′ or so away. The post will minimize the amount of predators that can reach the nest, while the trees help to provide a natural area for the owls to live. Ideally, the opening of the home is toward an open area. This not only allows the barn owls to find them more easily, they can live and raise their young better if there is open space below them. A clear path for flying in and out of the home is vital.

Depending on the box you buy you may need to place it in shade. Be sure to check with the seller or manufacturer of the box on proper installation. You can purchase or make boxes that are lighter in color to help reduce the amount of heat that accumulates in the box. If the site does not provide natural shade, make sure the box has UV protection and good ventilation to help keep the hot summer sun off of the house.

Attracting barn owls to your property is a fantastic organic choice for getting rid of the rodent pests on your property. Make sure to follow these suggestions for happy and healthy owls.

How to Build a Screech Owl Box

This is the perfect time of year to build owl boxes if you have sufficient motivation. In the event that you would prefer not to fabricate your own, there are a multitude of sources available on the web.  Our favorite supplier is the Wild Bird Store Online with their screech owl box and barn owl houses you can’t go wrong. In this case we’re talking about screech owls and so winter and fall is an extraordinary time to get the screw and saw out and set up a box together.   I’m posting two designs that are fundamentally the same.

Taking into account my own involvement with squirrels, I would suggest a bigger rooftop with a greater amount of a shade. I made a bigger light-weight rooftop this year that I screwed onto the current rooftop. This will make it less demanding to bring the owl box down for repairs as I can simply take the bigger rooftop off.

winter owl
eastern screech owl in winter

Site Selection

To the extent setting the owl box goes, you ought to pick a spot far from human action and most particularly human or vehicular traffic. Screech owls regularly fly low which brings about vehicle fatalities. Place the box no less than 10 feet off the ground if you can. Most articles suggest picking a spot where the owls have an unmistakable flight way to the box. Further suggestions are to evacuate all brush underneath the box as owls appear to favor an open territory beneath the box. I more often than not evacuate the brush in fall and dump every one of my leaves underneath the box. This cushioning may get to be helpful if one of the baby owls drops out of the box.

Mounting the Box

I would HIGHLY prescribe seeking somebody to help you mount the box onto the tree! Chipping away at a step with an extensive item is dubious, trust me. Numerous individuals use pulleys to lift the box up into the tree and I would suggest utilizing this methodology. Something that I’ve utilized effectively is to make mounting squares to attach the box to. As opposed to attempting to adjust the box up and secure it specifically against the tree, attach 2×4’s cut the width of your box onto the tree. Verify that you have a tiny bit of space at the base and screw a bit of slat onto the 2×4. Presently you have a little edge that you can adjust the box on while you screw the box onto the 2×4’s. Utilizing this methodology likewise makes it less demanding to repair the box as your mounting pieces dependably stay up and you have your gaps predrilled.

Protection From Predators

Most sites prescribe putting some type of predator protection around the box. You can make puzzles with metal glimmering or you can basically wrap the tree trunk underneath, above and around the back/sides of the box. A year ago I just had shavings around the top and base and I think the squirrels basically arrived on the uncovered “sides” and moved into the box. Squirrels can likewise effortlessly drop onto the rooftop, which is the reason I suggest a slanted bigger rooftop.

Generally, the above tips can provide a good blueprint on how to build a screech owl box. Owls may include a couple down quills for solace, however, they leave the settling and solace alternatives to the landlord!

Changes at Birds Of Prey

Big changes are coming soon to our site.  Please be patient as we evaluate customer needs and current product lines.  When all is said and done we expect to be able to provide valuable insights into the latest birds or prey supplies.  We’ll be venturing into barn owls and their nesting boxes.  Screech owls as well as kestrels and other falcons.  All birds of prey that can assist anyone with rodent problems.  Please come visit us again soon!