The Barn Owl Nest Box is now in use by the Departments of Natural Resources of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Missouri, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Audubon Societies of Illinois and South Carolina.
The Barn Owl Box Company began with the production of the Barn Owl Nest Box. The creation of the Barn Owl Box was inspired by the successful programs of natural rodent control reported by farmers in places as far apart as California, Malaysia, South East Asia, and Israel. Vineyards and orchards in California have used barn owls for natural rodent co
ntrol for decades and reporting positive results. Today, hundreds of farms throughout the state have erected thousands of nest boxes for these large owls.
Barn Owl Research
The large numbers of barn owls present in California, coupled with dense populations of pocket gophers and voles, prompted Mark Browning, the designer of the Barn Owl Box, to conduct a research project, the Barn Owl/Rodent Project, now in its third year, designed to measure the suppressive effects of a large and dense population of barn owls on a resident population of rodent pests in a 100-acre vineyard near Sacramento. LINK.
The results have been impressive. In 2011, 11 pairs of barn owls were attracted to the vineyard and successfully fledged 44 young for a total of 66 owls living on the vineyard. In 2012, 18 pairs of barn owls produced 66 young for a total of 102 owls, a prodigious, population of owls never achieved on such a small plot of land, showing just how successful farmers can be at establishing robust numbers of these predators. The reasons that barn owls nest box programs can be used in this way have to do with the unique nature of barn owl biology:
- Barn owls are cavity nesters, dependent upon large hollow trees or some other type of hollow. This means that they can be easily attracted to nest boxes.
- Barn owls live and raise young comfortably around human activity such as busy farmyards and agricultural fields
- Barn owls are not territorial; they often form nesting colonies in small areas, allowing farmers to establish many nest boxes within sight of each other
- Barn owls raise large numbers of young for a raptor—up to 13 young have been recorded in one nest, although 4 to 7 is more common
- Barn owls respond to higher rodent numbers by producing more young per brood, and producing more than one brood per year.
- Because they have such voracious appetites and have so many young, a single family of barn owls can consume over 1000 pocket gophers per year, or over 3000 mice or voles.
- Barn owls are extremely faithful to their nest sites, raising young year after year; and as older barn owls perish, new ones take their places.
- Once established, barn owls need very little maintenance, and can create a population that remains for many years.
- Barn owl nest boxes are very economical when compared to the costs of poisons and other methods.
Join those using barn owls for natural rodent control and help reduce the use of poisons and other invasive methods while helping preserve the biodiversity of your region. Using barn owls helps many other species such as those animals that ingest poisoned rodents such as bobcats, foxes, and birds of prey.