Where’s the best place for your Barn Owl nestbox?

Best option – Barn Owl nestbox inside a building

Barn Owl nestbox Best Place Indoor If there’s a large building that a Barn Owl can enter at 3+ metres above the ground then this is almost certainly the best place to put a new Barn Owl nestbox. An owl box in a building:

  • Is easier to erect.
  • Costs less, or is quicker and cheaper to make.
  • Lasts much longer.
  • Affords extra shelter (that’ll be great for the owls).

If you have a building with no high-up entrance hole, can a small owl-hole be made? Mounting an owl box on the outside of a building has many disadvantages and is not recommended unless there is no alternative. Buildings that are in human or agricultural use can be very suitable; Barn Owls can get used to almost any kind of activity as long as they can stay out of sight.
Tell me about Barn Owl nestboxes for buildings.

2nd best option – Barn Owl nestbox in a tree

Best Place for Tree Barn Owl nestboxTree nestboxes are an option if no building is available, but the drawbacks are:

  • More expensive to obtain or make than indoor boxes.
  • More difficult to erect than indoor boxes.
  • Don’t last as long due to partial exposure to the elements.
  • Don’t provide as much shelter.

Also there’s a greater chance of occupation by some other species. However, provided that you have a suitable tree in a suitable position, they are a much more practical option than a polebox.
Tell me about Barn Owl nestboxes for trees.

3rd best option – Barn Owl nestbox on a pole

Best Place Pole Barn Owl nestboxPole nestboxes for Barn Owls are the least preferred option because they are:

  • The most expensive by far.
  • The hardest to erect.
  • Not going to last long, compared with a nestbox in a building.
  • Completely exposed to the weather.

The only major advantage of an outdoor polebox is that it can be provided almost anywhere. You are not dependent on there being a suitable building or tree on-site. The pole needs to be very substantial and generally has to be erected by machine – the costs are considerable.
Tell me about pole mounted nestboxes for Barn Owls.

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Find out more about Barn Owl nest boxes in the Barn Owl Conservation Handbook.