Western Barn Owl bringing rodent prey to chicks still in Nesting Box
Western Barn Owl bringing rodent prey to chicks still in Nesting Box




The most often asked questions that I get at Slideshows about Owls
or talks on Owls that I give, is not as in the past ,” what
camera are you using ” or “aren’t the owls scared of the flash “,
but “ I want to put up a owl box , as I have owls near my house
, or “ I have a problem with rodents on my property“.
It points to one fact, that people are more aware of the free
service that owls can provide, to farmers , (see the articles from
the Western Cape ) and also from pig farmers , they usually have a
surplus of food for rodents at the breeding pens .

The owl box is not some mysterious contraption , made in a special
way to entice the owls to roost and to breed in it. As you can see
from some of the pictures , the boxes are made of the materials that
are cheap to come by , and improvisation is also a great help , with
the boxes or timber that you have around the house .
Size and the way the opening faces is also something that comes
with the circumstances as they are predicted.

Do not cut some good pieces of timber to meet the exact mm sizes ,
and do not make the opening too big , as it is amazing to see what
small holes the owls can manage , even carrying prey to the chicks.
The opening should not be to large and also not facing the area
where a lot of activity that can be seen from inside the box. I
prefer to put the hole / opening to one side , so that the owls
have a darker side to sit and not to be flushed , every time a person
outside walks past.

Even the size of the box is not that critical , but keep in mind
that the owls regularly raise six chicks , and the box must
accommodate them , and perhaps the female/mother too! The measurements
( given on one of the slides) is a standard that I try to keep to, but
I also found quite a lot of natural nesting areas , much smaller and
more cramped.

BAO Box PPoi0376 II
Western Barn Owl chicks in the Nesting Box, on a carpet of pellets and prey remains

The size of the opening , as I previously mentioned , is not so important, but

too Large will allow predators to enter easily!

How do we start the box , for roosting or breeding? We can just
supply the box , and if the owls are around, they will find it.
Even if Speckled pigeons found it first , they (the owls) will
take over the box , without much ado.

The other tenants that are not so easy to evict are bees , and an
eye should be kept on the box , and try to evict them as soon as
possible, because when the are in, they are IN.!!   When they are still
inspecting the box , a well placed mosquito coil is enough toe get
rid of them , but when they have built their combs of wax , you can write off the box, as they will return all the time , no matter how
many cans of DOOM , you emptied into the box.