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 www.wildbirdstoreonline.com.
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.