Barn owls are one of the most desirable owls to attract to your property, due in large part to their unending appetite for rodents. A single pair feeding young can catch up to 70 pounds of rodents, especially voles, during the breeding season!
It is one of the best studied raptors, and what we’ve learned is fascinating. For instance, the Barn Owl has amazingly keen hearing that can detect the sound of prey under snow, leaves, or grass. Its ears are slightly offset, which is thought to aid the bird in localizing its prey at night. Studies have shown that the Barn Owl is able to catch prey in zero light, depending entirely on its sense of hearing.
Following the below tips will welcome this monkey-faced raptor to your ranch or farm.
Grassland, fallow fields, hayfields, open marshes, savannah, and cropland/pasture are ideal habitat for barn owls. Abandoned or seldom-used barns are the best location to install a nest box. However, mounting one on a pole or tree works as well.
- The floor-space should be 10" x 18"
- The depth should be 20" - 24"
- The entrance should be 5"
- The entrance should stand 4" from the floor
- It should stand 12" - 18" off the ground
- For complete plan drawings, please visit 50birds.com
What to do when the box becomes occupied
Barn owl nesting occurs at different times of year depending where in Calfiornia they live. In Southern California they can nest year-round. A typical clutch is composed of 5 - 7 eggs and incubate for around 32 days. During this time try to eliminate any disturbances around the box. Owlets will fledge at 8 - 10 weeks of age. Mates will return to the same spot to breed year after year.
How you can help, right now
Get Audubon in Your Inbox
Audubon California Newsletter comes to your inbox monthly with breaking news and important conservation updates from our state.