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!