How to build a barn owl nesting box

Written by larry parr
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Barn owls are a tremendous asset to any farm. A single barn owl can rid a farm of literally hundreds of mice, rats, gophers and other unwanted pests in just a single nesting season. The problem is, many areas of the country report a drop in barn owl populations. The solution? Build and install more barn owl nesting boxes to encourage breeding and to encourage the existing owls to stay close to farms and other areas where their services are needed. This project can be completed in just a couple of hours.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 1/2-inch plywood, 4-feet by 8-feet
  • 26 medium angle brackets
  • 52 1/2-inch wood screws
  • Wood glue
  • Wood shavings
  • Table saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Drill with 1/4 bit plus screwdriver bit

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  1. 1

    Set the guide on your table saw to 22 inches and rip all the way down the 8 foot length of the board, producing a 22-inch by 8-foot board.

  2. 2

    Cut four 18-inch by 22-inch sections from your 8-foot board. This leaves you with one piece, 22-inches by 24-inches. Saw off 1-inch, leaving a board that is 22- x 23-inches. Set aside. This will be the bottom of your nesting box.

  3. 3

    Jigsaw a centred 10-inch by 10-inch cut-out along the 22-inch width of one of your 22- by 18-inch boards. This will be the front of your owl house, with the cut-out at the top of the board being the door for the owls to enter.

  4. 4

    Assemble the four 18- by 22-inch boards with two of them being the sides to your nesting box, one being the back and the one with the 10-by10 cut-out being the front. Use two medium angle brackets and four 1/2-inch wood screws to secure all joints. Wood glue may be applied to the joints for added strength if desired.

  5. 5

    Drill ten 1/4-inch holes in the 22- by 23-inch board (the bottom of your nest) for drainage and air flow. Set the assembled sides, back and front of nest on the bottom and attach with two angle brackets and eight wood screws along each of the four joints. Wood glue may be used for additional strength.

  6. 6

    Cut a 22- by 23-inch piece from the remaining plywood stock. This is the top of your nest. Put 2 inches of wood shavings into the box, then secure the top with angle brackets and wood screws. Add wood glue if desired.

  7. 7

    Secure nesting box in a high location (such as barn rafters) where it is not easy for cats and other predators to reach.

Tips and warnings

  • Stop using all rodent poisons during breeding season.
  • Keep human and animal traffic around the nesting box to a minimum.

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