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.

2003 barn owl cam - a larger box


2014 Barn owl prey study
2012-2013 barn owl nesting
2011 barn owl nesting
2011 barn owl prey cam
2006 barn owl polygamy
2010 barn owl nesting
2003 barn owl nesting
2003 barn owl prey cam
The attic barn owl nest
Living with barn owls
The barn owl nest box
An interior barn owl box
Barn owl electrocution
The Barn Owl
2014 barn owl nesting - 2017 update 

2010 - 2014 Northern flicker nestings
2014 house wren gourd use
2014 - A dramatic loss of many types of insects
barn swallow artificial nest cups
2014 barn owl nesting - prey study
A new barn swallow shelter for 2013
2010 barn owl nesting
2010 Update
Entire site index (outdated)
Starling traps
Using blinds in the home habitat
Providing perches for birds
Providing snags for wildlife
The ugly young maple
2001 - 2013 nest cams
Use of tomato cages as hunting perches by insectivorous song birds
Vultures, beetles and the resurrection of life

Species of interest in our yard - photos and articles
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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© 1991 - 2010, American Artifacts and Richard Van Vleck, Taneytown, Maryland.