The far western counties, Garret and Allegany, dominated by forested ridge and valley systems, are quite poor in barn owls, but the Great Valley area,, known as the Hagerstown Valley in Maryland, comprised of Washington and Frederick counties (with the exception of the Blue Ridge Mountains that cut through Frederick) provides excellent habitat due to the presence of hayfields, old silos for nesting, and the virtual absence of row crops such as corn and soy. The eastern shores of Chesapeake Bay contain extensive wetlands that also harbor good populations where many barn owls nest in duck blinds.
Duck blinds in the marshes of Chesapeake Bay provide nesting sites for barn owls
Dark Blue = good populations; Light Blue = scattered; Green = poor; Yellow = rare to nonexistent
Due to a perceived decline in barn owl numbers in a number of counties, the owl is listed as a bird of critical concern in Maryland.
The Barn Owl Nest Box Project is a cooperative effort between Calvert County Natural Resources Division and Southern Maryland Audubon Society. The goal of the project is to increase Barn Owl numbers in Southern Maryland by attracting them to man-made nesting boxes placed on secluded barns in areas of suitable habitat. Contact Senior Naturalist, Andy Brown at 410-535-5327 or Southern Maryland Audubon Society raptor research committee chair Mike Callahan at 240-765-5192 if you would like to help with the project or if you would like to install nest boxes on your property.
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