We offer 3 different owl houses:
Mounting the Barn Owl Box on a removable pole is the preferred choice. In addition to allowing maximum flexibility for choice of locations, this approach provides the easiest access to the box for annual clean-out.
For safety reasons, it is suggested that two people perform the task of placing or removing the pole with the box attached (as a special note, please check the box prior to removal to ensure that no animals are in residence). A metal pole is preferred to wood as it will not rot, and it is far more difficult for predatory animals to scale.
One or two nesting boxes for every ten acres of rodent-infested land is recommended; one box for every 4 acres is maximum. Although the box should be located away from dense woods, nearby trees give the fledgling owls a place to perch outside of the box while they learn to hunt. Face the entryway away from the prevailing wind.
Each Barn Owl Box purchased from Sutton Ag includes preinstalled mounting blocks on the back of the box. The top block is drilled half way thorough to receive and provide a cap for the pole. It's mounted at the top of the back, hole down. The bottom block is drilled to allow the pole to slide through.
A set screw is used to tighten the block to the pole. The pole is run through the bottom block into the top block, the set screw is tightened, and you're ready to put the box
Note that our choice of mounting pole is a 1.25" (Inside diameter) Schedule 40 Galvanized metal pole that's cemented into the ground or, better, set on top of a 1” pole (sleeve) that is cemented into the ground first. The bottom of the Barn Owl Box should be 12-feet above the ground.
Erecting the Pole-Mounted Barn Owl Nesting Box
Once you have determined the best location for your owl house, dig a hole 24 to 30 inches deep and cement the 1" section of pipe into the hole. Make sure that the pipe is straight. it's a good idea to use a level to check this. To assist in this task, a section of 1.25" PVC may be of benefit; slip it over the steel pipe as an extension to better check alignment.
Once the cement has set you are ready to continue the mounting process. It is recommended that at least 2 persons be present to place the pipe with the box attached onto the standing pipe cemented in the ground as the balance may be a bit precarious for a single person.
If wooden posts are a must, Redwood is preferable, 16’ long 6”x 6” set in concrete with 3.5’ below grade. They should be plumb. Attach the box to the post with lag screws, making sure that the box is level and centered on the post.
To deter predators from attempting to climb up to the nesting box, wood posts should have a 3-foot width of metal flashing wrapped around the base of the post 1 foot above the ground. You may find that it's helpful to number the boxes before they are installed.
Barn Owl Nesting Box Location Guidelines
Admittedly, it is difficult to predict with certainty whether a box will attract owls; the best locations are sometimes determined by trial and error. Once most of the boxes are occupied, more can be added.
Barn Owls do not necessarily hunt in close proximity to their nest. Therefore, nest boxes can be placed some distance away from heavily infested areas and strategically placed in overlapping areas. Regardless, placing a perch in an area of high rodent infestation will encourage the owls to hunt in that area. Placing the boxes one hundred yards apart is quite adequate. This should provide
sufficient coverage and allow for some territorial behavior by the male.
Boxes may be located near tree lines (within about 100 yards) to provide a nearby perch for young as they venture out of the nest. However, the box should not be too close to dense woods which, in Northern California, are the habitat of the Great Horned Owl and the Red-Tailed Hawk, the Barn Owls primary predators.
If you have trees on the perimeter of your vineyards, install owl boxes on the
outside of the foliage drip line. In vineyards, it is best to place boxes between rows at the end of a row of vines, not in the center of vineyards or at the end of
vineyard rows. Place boxes on vineyard lanes taking care that there is open space in a five foot radius around the post providing the owl with visibility to immediate hunting ground and for easy access for maintenance.
In vineyards with proximal trees, rodents are often in the uncultivated area between the trees and cultivated crops. The number of owls that can be supported is determined by that area.
Areas to Avoid
Because the flight path of owls is low, large trucks and trains are the number one killer of Barn Owls. Owl house placement should not be near roads or train tracks that have significant night-time traffic. Barn Owls, along with many other raptors and different species of birds, commonly die from interactions with power lines, so do not place boxes on or near utility poles. Owl pellets are highly corrosive to metals, so boxes should not be placed near vehicles or other valuable property.