How to Build an A-Type Barn Owl Nest Box

How to Build an A-Type Barn Owl Nest Box
Anyone who has seen barn owls, with their white, heart-shaped faces, would agree with the Barn Owl Trust, which calls them "stunningly beautiful." Barn owls normally hunt over open grasslands or areas with young trees, and they nest in nearby structures such as barns or abandoned buildings. Hang this tree-mounted nestbox at the edge of a wooded area, adjacent to the owl's natural hunting habitat. The Trust recommends rot-resistant or treated soft plywood.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Cut the Plywood

Things You’ll Need:
  • 1 sheet plywood, 3/8 to 1/2 inch, 2-inches-by-1-inch
  • Two pieces 2-inch-by 2-inch, treated softwood timber, 30 inches long
  • 2-inch-by-1-inch softwood timber, 8 inches long
  • 2-inch hinges
  • 1/2-inch swiveling hook
  • Roofing felt or shingles
  • Water sealant
  • Three 1 1/4-inch rust-resistant screws
  • Galvanized nails
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Carpentry glue
Step 1
Cut two battens, or braces, from the 2-by-2-inch timber, each 30 inches long.
Step 2
Cut two batten "hooks" from the 2-by-1-inch timber, each 3 inches long.
Step 3
Cut two sides, each 28 3/8 inches by 17 inches.
Step 4
Cut the front and back pieces 28 3/4 inches by 16 inches.
Step 5
Cut the roof and floor pieces 17 inches by 19 3/4 inches.
Step 6
Cut the landing tray, 20 1/2 inches by 10 inches, with side and front edging pieces 3 inches tall to keep the young owls from hopping off the tray.
Step 7
Cut a 5-by-5-inch entrance hole centered in the front approximately 2 inches down from the top.
Step 8
Cut an inspection hatch door, 8 by 20 1/2 inches, approximately 4 inches from the bottom of the front piece. Attach it with hinges on the bottom and a swiveling hook to close it on the top. Glue a small handle to the door made from a piece of timber.

Construct the Box

Step 1
Nail the landing tray edges to the tray and nail it to the front approximately 4 inches below the entrance hole.
Step 2
Screw one batten to the back of the box approximately 8 inches from the top, screwing from the inside of the box to the timber.
Step 3
Drill holes into the batten near to the outer edges that you will use to nail or screw the batten to the batten that you will attach to the tree itself.
Step 4
Drill four drainage holes approximately 3/4 of an inch in diameter into the floor piece.
Step 5
Nail the side pieces to the floor, allowing the sides to overhang the floor by a half-inch.
Step 6
Nail the back piece to the sides and bottom, allowing the back to overhang the floor by a half-inch.
Step 7
Nail the front piece to the sides allowing it to overhang a half-inch. Place the bottom of the front flush with the sides. Slant the top of the front approximately 4 inches in from the edge of the side pieces so the roof overhangs the entrance hole.
Step 8
Seal all joints with the water sealant.
Step 9
Nail the batten hooks to the end of the battan. They will stick up above the edge of the batten. This will allow the person hanging the box to rest the box on the hooks while nailing it in place.

Tips & Warnings

To hang the box, nail the batten onto a tree and nail the batten attached to the box onto that batten.
Use the dimensions given here as a guide; variations in size up to 10 percent will work as well.

Article Written By Susan Lundman

After retiring from work in a nonprofit child development agency, Susan Lundman began writing about her passions of healthy foods and gardening. She writes for a variety of websites and blogs about her adventures for family and friends. Lundman holds a Master of Arts in English from Stanford University.

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