This nest box incorporates a number of innovative features that provide barn owls with an ideal environment and make installation and maintenance easy. With its rugged, molded construction and other features, this nest box is easily the most innovative and longest-lasting nest box on the market.
This photo shows the six nylon thumb nuts that are easily removed by hand to reach the interior for replacing mulch and cleaning. Notice the face plate consists of two pieces: the lower piece features the landing ledge and perch; the upper piece features the entrance hole and rain guard. The construction makes for a very snug and dry nest box.
Here is shown how the dark brown liner slides into the white outer box. The liner not only keeps the nest box dark for the birds, but also creates a vital air space between itself and the outer box. Holes in the floor of the outer box vent air up through and around the boxes, keeping the unit cool even in full sun. The liner also makes the nest box simple to clean by allowing the owner to slide it out and dump it in a matter of seconds.
Here is the rear of the box showing the vinyl blind pulled up to reveal the acrylic viewing window. This is very helpful when checking the next box for occupying adults, eggs, or chicks. It is a safe way to peek in to the nest box without unduly frightening the occupants or getting surprised yourself. Of course, always have someone hold your ladder!
The Barn Owl Pole Kit
To make installing the Pole Model quick and easy, we also offer a separate product, the
E-Z Barn Owl Nest Box Pole that allows a single worker to install a nest box in under an hour. 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 control for decades and reporting positive results. Today, hundreds of farms throughout the state have erected thousands of nest boxes for these large owls.
Our 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.
Twenty-five owl houses were installed on the perimeter of the vineyard, approximately one for every four acres. These nest boxes were placed on eight foot poles, and each nest box received three to four inches of bark mulch to keep the eggs safe from rolling around. The nest boxes were checked on a monthly basis for occupying adults, eggs, and chicks.
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.
Why Barn Owls are Ideal for Natural Rodent Control
- 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.
Barn Owl Nest Box Placement
Much misinformation abounds on the internet about the best methods for installing barn owl boxes. Some people say that the owl boxes should be placed twelve feet or higher (some barn owl boxes can be seen on thirty foot poles). In terms of direction, some say that the nest boxes should face north, others south. Plenty of people tell novice barn owl enthusiasts not to place any bedding in the nest boxes–that the barn owls will provide it themselves. The fact is, all of the above is untrue.
The Proper Way to Install Barn Owl Boxes
On height, keep in mind that barn owls have been known to nest on the ground. Some breed below the ground in abandoned mines. The designer of The Barn Owl Box has seen barn owls breeding successfully in nest boxes four feet off the ground. The best rule of thumb is to place barn owl houses about eight feet off the ground. This makes installation and inspection far easier and is quite an adequate height for the barn owls.
Research has shown that barn owls prefer easterly facing directions for their nest boxes. This allows the sun to warm the box in the early morning when it is cold, and keeps the nest box cooler during the hotter part of the day. Face barn owl nest boxes NE, SE, or E when possible but keep in mind that barn owls will nest facing any direction when necessary.
Bedding is vital for barn owl nest boxes. Place about three to four inches of garden mulch in the bottom of the owl house. This will keep eggs from rolling around. Barn owls do not bring in their own nesting material and they do not produce enough pellets fast enough to keep the barn owl eggs from rolling around and getting broken. Use large-pieced bark mulch of any type of wood except cedar.
Human activity around barn owl nest boxes does not normally disrupt barn owl nesting activity. After all, they are called “barn” owls for a very good reason. Historically, barn owls have chosen to breed around human habitations. For this reason you may install your barn owl nest box right next to your house, in a busy barn, along a farm access road where workers walk and machinery moves. The barn owls will adapt and call the owl house home.