Richard and Diane Van Vleck Personal Pages
The Home Habitat
|Provide a Home for Barn Owls in Your Yard|
|Why a Barn Owl Box?||Nestbox Dimensions|
1. Barn owls are not a hardy species, having much less insulation than other owls. During severe winters, many barn owls may die. Having adequate shelter can increase their chance of survival. Barn owls will use a nestbox as a winter roost during severe weather.
2. Natural nest sites may not be available that will protect the young from predation and mobbing by crows, jays, and many other birds.
3. Nesting in farm yards or at the edge of small towns may reduce the chance of predation by great horned owls.
4. The joy of watching these fascinating creatures up close. If your children are bored with the hordes of house finches at the sunflower feeder, the barn owl will surely rekindle their interest in nature.
The most frequently quoted dimensions for nestboxes for this species may be too small. Under ideal conditions, barn owls will raise large broods of frequently 7-9 and sometimes 10. When small, the nestlings will stay huddled in the far end of the box, away from the entrance, but, when they are almost full grown and trying to stretch their wings and practice jumping on prey, they have a very difficult time in a small box. I would suggest a minimum floor space of 18" x18". The entrance hole should be 6" wide and about 4-6 inches above the floor. The box should be placed at least 12' high. If the box is on the inside wall of an outbuilding, the temperature inside the building on a hot sunny day should be checked before the box is used by owls.
Oct 2003 update The owl box I use now is much larger than even the above recommendation - 40 inches long, with a smaller entrance of 4"x5" to thwart the great horned owls. This larger box was readily accepted by the adults and appeared quite comfortable for this year's 5 nestlings.
2018 - The Barnyard Balance of Nature Goes Awry
|barn owl||American kestrel||purple martin||barn swallow||Eastern bluebird|
|tufted titmouse||Eastern phoebe||yellow shafted flicker||tree swallow||chimney swift|
|house wren||big brown bat||Carolina wren||brown thrasher||catbird|
|cedar waxwing||Northern mockingbird|
|Yellow warbler||Acadian flycatcher|
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