Owls are amazing birds, the most common varieties in the UK being the Barn Owl and the Tawny Owl. Owls are birds of prey and as such for them to nest near you there should be a good supply of rodents for them to hunt. Such good areas are near farmland or wooded areas, even churchyards are great areas for an Owl box.
If your surrounding environment is suitable for an Owl box or may be you have heard Owls frequently in your area, then it is definitely worth putting up an Owl Nest box in or near to your garden if you want to attract them. If your garden is large or you may be lucky enough to have acres of land, it’s useful to leave a wild area or grassy area that is not cut. This will encourage rodents that are suitable prey for the owl to return to the Owl box with.
Also grassy edges alongside hedges and ditches will provide a perfect lookout perch for an owl – which may or may not be close to the Owl Nest
To make a great Owl box location, this is what you will need to do:
Owls aren’t common garden visitors but if you know they are around, it’s worth providing extra Owl Nest for them, in particular the Barn, Tawny and Little Owls.
Which Owl box for which owl?
In General an Owl box is bigger than a garden bird box. They’re shaped and designed with the owl in mind.
Tawny owls like to nest in a hollow tree trunks, so a Tawny Owl Box is generally a tube-shaped to mimic their natural nesting site. Alternatively, leave any natural hollow branches in your garden for them to use as a natural nesting site.
A Little owl box is long with a hole at the top. Inside is a nesting chamber as they like small spaces for nesting. The Little Owl Box is very similar in design to other large bird boxes such as woodpecker and Jackdaws.
A Barn owl box is large and square, it can also be triangular, with an “exercise ledge or Perch” outside the entrance for young owls to explore on.
Siting an Owl box
* With an area of several trees, fix a tawny owl box to one at the edge of the group or the side of a field or farm land.
* A little owl box should can be secured to a tree roughly 3m above ground.
* For a Barn owl Box, they like to nest in a tree in the middle of a field or on the edge of woodland, between 3 and 5m above the ground.
* It is very important to ensure no cold draughts can affect the Owl Box – face the pop hole of the owl box or entrance away from the prevailing wind in your area. It also makes it easier for flight in and out of the owl box.
* Any Self made Owl box should be checked for safety – nails, no toxic glue, no toxic preservatives have been used on the owl box.
* When securing the owl box to a tree, try not to use nails or screws – this can damage the tree. Use a strap or a belt to hang the owl box.
Maintaining your Owl Box is very important.
* The most important aspect is not to go anywhere near the owl box unless you are absolutely sure that all owls have left the owl box for sure,
* Birds often choose a nesting site during the autumn, winter or early spring. So your owl box may not be occupied as soon as it is put up – be patient. Leave the box where it is for the winter and it could be a nice dry place for birds to roost when the weather is poor.
* If you find unhatched eggs in your Owl Box when you clean it out, you can only legally remove them between October and January – and by law they must be destroyed (Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981).