Why Choose This Barn Owl Box?
Advantages Over Wooden Boxes
If you've ever put up a wooden or ply barn owl box you'll remember it for while. They're really heavy - around 20kg, if they're any good - and often have fiddly fixings. Even with help, if you're 4 metres up a ladder it's not exactly the easiest thing in the world. Particularly if you're anything like me. Our eco-friendly barn owl boxes are under 10kg and have two easy fixings. There's a plate which you nail or screw into the wall/tree where the box is going which it slots into, then a strap which nails down at the end of the install.
These barn owl boxes also last a lot longer than the wooden ones too. They're mostly made out of plastic recycled in the UK from mostly agricultural waste like the dreaded baler twine. The boxes are not unattractive, really tough and durable, and functional. The plastic has good thermal insulation and the pieces are slotted together, so no glue or nails and screws. It's inert, of course, so doesn't warp or rot. Moisture is controlled through ventilation and concealed drainage. The floor is made from FSC certified OSB - made from reconstituted wood offcuts. It's easily removable; the idea is you replace it after a few years if it's the worse for wear.
Other Design Features
These boxes have a number of clever design features, all helping ensure your box will be occupied by happy barn owls. The gently curved and overhanging roof not only provides a textured perch for owlets to grip, but also keeps their nest dry. There's a wide canopy at the front too, to protect the entrance. Birds can perch on the front platform, and adults on the side hatch fixings.
The boxes have easily opened side hatches to facilitate cleaning, and even a removable arm to hold a video camera.
The boxes come assembled and with full installation instructions. Even I managed to follow them.
If you're installing a box inside near the apex of a roof is ideal, as high as possible - over 3m if possible. Make sure though that the box won't over heat from sunshine on the roof and that there's enough ventilation around it. Obviously, owls must have access to the box at all times. As with a site outside, make sure the entrance to the box is visible to passing owls. They seem to enjoy looking out for their nests too.
Sites on trees or external walls should also be high up - the suppliers recommend at least 4.5m. Overheating can be a problem here too, so find somewhere shaded from the mid-day sun. As with all nestboxes, best to face the entrance away from prevailing winds. Our box here faces east, sheltered from westerlies and southwesterlies.
Barn owls are one of our most beautiful and charismatic birds. They are also increasingly rare, and categorised as a Schedule 1 protected species. Habitat loss, fewer nest sites and indiscriminate use of rodenticide have taken a toll on them. Don't open their nest boxes from March to October, when you might disturb incubating eggs or young chicks. Unlike tawny owls, barn owls prefer tussocky grassland where they can find lots of voles to predate. This is relatively easy habitat to create and manage - give it a try! They often nest in boxes.
Supplier: The Nest Box Company