Both the Pole Model and the Barn Model have been made simple to install. There is very little assembly and each model can be installed in about an hour. Their light weight compared to wooden boxes makes them much easier to carry up a ladder, and each comes with its own mounting bracket and hardware as well as detailed installation instructions.
- Height: Plenty of advice has been given on height, and often a twelve foot minimum is cited. The truth is, eight to ten feet is quite fine, and enables the owner to check the box more easily and safely.
- Direction: Since the nest box comes with such a prominent rain guard, it does not matter which way you face the box in terms of weather. On the other hand, if mounting the Pole Model in a sunny location, face the front away from the south since it is the only surface not protected by the double-box system.
- Most importantly, whether installing a Barn or Pole Model, try to face the front of the box toward an open area so that passing barn owls will catch a glimpse of the dark entrance hole. That is what they are attracted to when searching for nesting sites.
- Bedding: Place a bed of mulch (preferably hardwood) on the floor of the box one to two inches deep. This keeps the eggs from rolling and breaking, and provides the owls a softer place to rest. Pine and fir are acceptable, but avoid cedar, sawdust, and wood shavings.
- If using a wooden post to mount the Pole Model, wrap the post with a 24" piece of sheet metal, beginning at about three feet up, to keep raccoons and other predators from climbing.
- When installing a wooden post, think about cutting the post and hinging it so that it can be swung down for cleaning. Another method to make cleaning and observing easier is to firmly attach short pieces of 4 by 4 to either side of the main post up near the box. This will allow most ladders to rest securely against the post so it can be accessed.
- When using a metal pole, it is fairly simple to create a telescoping pole by using two different diameter poles: the upper pole slides into the lower one, making raising and lowering the nest box a simple affair. Check with your local building supply for tips.
Maintenance of The Barn Owl Box
Since the box is made of molded plastic, it needs little care. Although barn owls do not clean out their own nests, it is a good idea to replace the mulch every year or two in a box being used by owls. Some organic and sustainable programs may require an annual cleaning. Check with your local certifying organization.
- Always use gloves and a surgical mask when cleaning out a bird nesting area.