11 Free DIY Barn Owl Box Plans You Can Make Today (With Pictures)
Many DIY’ers get their start by building something simple such as a bird house. But building a barn owl nesting box takes that to the next level.
With a stereotypical birdhouse, it’s essentially a pretty box with an entrance/exit hole. But barn owl boxes need to have a few more elements. They’re still relatively simple to make though and only have a couple upgrades. But constructing these boxes are pretty important in themselves because of what they can do for the barn owls.
In this article, you’ll learn why you should learn how to build a barn owl box, how to build one, and why it’s so important to maintain it.
If you’ve decided a barn owl box is right for you, then any of these plans can set you down the path. You’ll notice that most of these plans come from private or public wildlife foundations. These plans have been designed specifically for barn owl breeding and nesting habits.
But before you start sawing and drilling away, don’t forget to procure proper PPE equipment. Be sure to use eye protection, gloves, aprons, and avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing when building these boxes.
The 11 DIY Barn Owl Box Plans
1. DIY Barn Owl Box Modeled After an Original Design by Steve Simmons
This first design plan is modeled after the original design of Steve Simmons. Steve is an avid bird ecologist out of Merced, California who’s done major work in the preservation of barn owls in California’s central valley.
This plan is pretty simple to construct and provides protection to the owls from raccoons and other larger owl species. It has a false entrance chamber with a divider to separate any nesting owls from predators should one try to breech.
2. DIY Barn Owl Nestbox by The Barn Owl Trust
The Barn Owl Trust’s nesting box plan constructed a much larger box than the one above. However, it’s of excellent design. It not only provides protection for the owls, but a great drainage system as well. This plan is more difficult to construct than other boxes, and it gets heavy. Installing this box is easily a two-person job.
3. DIY Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Barn Owl Box
The State of Kentucky recognizes the importance of barn owls and providing them a proper place to nest. That’s why they’ve put together a handy little pamphlet that shows you how to put together barn owls boxes for both buildings and hanging on trees or poles.
4. DIY RSPB External and Internal Barn Owl Boxes
Sometimes barn owls don’t settle strictly outdoors. They’ve earned their name by occasional nesting inside barns! And there’s a difference between how you should construct each box. The RSPB has provided printable plans for both. They don’t hold your hand through the process, so I’d recommend these plans for individuals with a bit more DIY know-how.
5. DIY Indoor Barn Owl Nestbox by The Barn Owl Trust
A great plan by The Barn Owl Trust is the DIY Indoor Barn Owl Nestbox. It lists all the materials that you will need and provides a diagram that you can follow to construct the box. There are many helpful tips about not only how to build it but also how high to hang it and maintain it when it’s working.
6. DIY Barn Owl Nesting Box by Anthony Altorenna
This DIY Barn Owl Nesting Box plan by Anthony Altorena is relatively simple to build, as the author attempts to keep costs down. It uses only a few materials and supplies, and there’s an easy-to-follow diagram that will have you using your owl box in no time. The author also explains how to hang the box and lists several interesting owl facts.
7. DIY Owl Box by Curbstone Valley
The DIY Owl Box by Curbstone Valley is one of the easier projects on this list to build, and it uses simple boards that you might already have lying around your home. It’s perfect for exterior applications and has built-in drainage to prevent moisture from building up inside. The author also provides tips for hanging it on a tree.
8. Barn Owl Nest Box by Barn Owl Centre
If you prefer to follow along with video instead of text, you will like the Barn Owl Nest Box by Barn Owl Centre. There isn’t much in the way of instructions for building the box, but there are extensive tips and tricks for using a bracket and installing the box in a tree.
9. Owl Nest Box by Instructables
The Owl Nest Box plan by Instructables has one of the most detailed and easy-to-follow plans on this list. The author explains every step in text and video, and no difficult cuts or expensive tools are needed, so it’s a perfect project for beginners. The author even explains why you should install an owl box in the first place.
10. DIY Barn Owl Nest Box by Vulcan Termite
The DIY Barn Owl Nest Box by Vulcan Termite is easy to build and only requires plywood and nails, so it’s inexpensive. If you have previous experience with woodworking and DIY projects, you can likely complete it in just a few hours. The author also explains how owls are excellent for pest control and recommends setting up community boxes to help the entire neighborhood.
11. Barn Owl Nestbox by Advancebay
The Barn Owl Nestbox project by Advancebay is a video project that entails creating an owl box from plywood. There are a few angled cuts, but you should have no problem making them with hand tools, and the finished project is attractive and durable.
Why Should You Build a Barn Owl Box?
So, here’s the real question. Why is building barn owl boxes so important (besides the fact that it’s fun to do)?
It’s because barn owls play such a huge role in their ecosystems. They are predatory to small rodents and play a big part in keeping their populations under control. They’re like Mother Nature’s very own pest control.
And this can be used to your advantage. Once barn owls establish a home, the surrounding area becomes their hunting ground. So, if you can establish a breeding location for barn owls, you have effectively gained a valuable resource in controlling rats, mice, gophers, and other varmint on your property.
The Importance of Maintaining a Barn Owl Box
Once you’ve built your barn owl box and a family has nested, you’ll start to see the fruits of your labor pay off. But that only happens to a point. It’s imperative that you maintain and upkeep your barn owl boxes.
Barn owls are relatively particular about their homes. Being cavity nesters, they must compete with other species in order to find a good home. You don’t want to have other birds or animals living inside your box.
You also are going to want to maintain the cleanliness and integrity of your box. If the box is starting to crack or break, it needs to be repaired. The last thing you want is for the box to suddenly break and go tumbling to the ground—especially with owls inside. Internal cleanliness is also a big thing to maintain. You see, after owls eat, they regurgitate their meals into little pellets. These pellets are then broken apart and used to create the nest. But if this pellet nesting takes up too much space, it’s likely that the owls will relocate to a more spacious home.
Schedule Cleanings in Autmun
But there’s a catch, you need to work around the owls’ schedule.
You really don’t want to mess with the boxes during their nesting season which runs between February and September. At this time, the owls are courting, mating, and raising young within the box. Violating this season will ensure that the owls do not return. And you may have to face off with an angry mother.
Instead, schedule your cleanings between early October to mid-December. The boxes are less likely to have inhabitants making cleanup possible.
Barn owls remain faithful to properly maintained nesting sites. So, be good to the owls, and the owls will be good to you.
Learning how to build a barn owl nesting box isn’t too tough. It’s the responsibility that comes with the construction that can be a bit taxing.
But if you’re ready to take that challenge head on and reap the benefits, these free plans are a great place to start.
We hope this article has shed some light into the importance of creating and maintaining a barn owl habitat. It’s truly worth the effort.
You might also be interested in: How to Build a Horseshoe Pit at Home
Featured Image Credit: Desiree DiGerolamo, Shutterstock