How To Attract Barn Owls?


Barn owls are attracted to areas with large rodent populations, such as where grain and forage crops are produced and near grain storage facilities. To attract barn owls, you can follow these steps:

  1. Manage land for Barn Owls: The best foraging habitat is rough grassland with a high population of Field Voles – Barn Owls’ main prey.

    If you manage land in the countryside, the best way to encourage Barn Owls is to increase their food supply by creating strips or patches of rough tussocky grassland at least 4 meters wide, with a litter layer of dead grass, at least 7 cm deep.
  2. Provide a roosting and nesting place: Barn owls need a place to roost and nest.

    You can provide a nesting site by setting up a nest box in a large tree, on a pole, or in a barn.
  3. Avoid using Rat Poison (rodenticides): Rat poison can harm barn owls and their prey.

    Avoid using rodenticides to help protect barn owls.
  4. Offer extra food in bad weather: Barn owls need a food source in bad weather, and hunting is even harder when all the voles that make up twenty percent of their diet are hibernating.

    You can put the food on a bird table so rats can’t reach it.
  5. Buy from wildlife-friendly farmers: Supporting wildlife-friendly farmers can help create a habitat that is more attractive to barn owls.
  6. Help your local Barn Owl Group: You can help your local Barn Owl Group by volunteering or donating to support their conservation efforts.
  7. Start your own Barn Owl Project: You can start your own Barn Owl Project by setting up a nest box and managing your land for Barn Owls.
  8. Object to damaging rural developments: Objecting to damaging rural developments can help protect the habitat of barn owls.
  9. Help minimize climate change: Climate change can have a negative impact on the habitat of barn owls.

    You can help minimize climate change by reducing your carbon footprint.
  10. Support the Barn Owl Trust: Supporting the Barn Owl Trust can help fund conservation efforts to protect barn owls.

What Are Some Specific Features Or Elements That Can Be Incorporated Into An Environment To Attract Barn Owls?

Barn owls are attracted to open areas like prairies or farmlands, but can be found in a wide variety of habitats, including developed urban areas.

They nest in cavities like hollowed trees, cliffs or caves, but can also use man-made structures including barns, steeples or nest boxes.

Here are some specific features or elements that can be incorporated into an environment to attract barn owls:

  • Nest boxes: Barn owls can use man-made structures like nest boxes as nesting sites.

    These boxes should be placed in open areas with good foraging habitat nearby.
  • Open areas: Barn owls prefer open areas for hunting, so creating or maintaining open areas like grasslands or farmlands can attract them.
  • Foraging habitat: Barn owls feed on small mammals like voles, rats, rabbits, and shrews.

    Providing good foraging habitat nearby, such as fields or meadows, can attract them.
  • Roosting sites: Barn owls roost in tree cavities, crevices in cliffs, or in riverbanks, as well as in buildings like barns.

    Providing suitable roosting sites can attract them.
  • Darkness: Barn owls hunt at night and have excellent vision in low light levels.

    Reducing light pollution in the area can make it more attractive to them.

Are There Any Particular Nesting Preferences Or Requirements That Need To Be Considered When Creating Suitable Habitats For Barn Owls?

Barn owls have a variety of nesting preferences and requirements that should be considered when creating suitable habitats for them.

Here are some key points:

  • Nesting Sites: Barn owls put their nests in holes in trees, cliff ledges and crevices, caves, burrows in river banks, and in many kinds of human structures, including barn lofts, church steeples, houses, nest boxes, haystacks, and even drive-in movie screens.

    They also roost and nest at least 3 meters above ground level, and seem to prefer perching on traditional nest sites such as farmhouses, old churches, castles, dovecotes, derelict cottages, chapels, chimneys, bridges, walls, sea cliffs, quarry faces, mine buildings, mine shafts, disused factories, bunkers, observation towers, and water towers.
  • Habitat: Barn owls live in open habitats across most of the lower 48 United States and extend into a few parts of southern Canada.

    These include grasslands, deserts, marshes, agricultural fields, strips of forest, woodlots, ranchlands, brushy fields, and suburbs and cities.

    They need between 14 and 47 hectares of rough grassland within 2km of suitable nesting and roosting sites, depending on the type of land.
  • Home Range: Once settled into their home range, barn owls generally use the same nest and roost sites for the rest of their lives.

    In areas where there are plenty of suitable-looking sites for the owls to choose from, it is often unclear why they choose the sites they use and ignore others.
  • Conservation: Barn owls are threatened by the conversion of their habitat to other uses, such as urbanization and intensive agriculture.

    They also face other challenges to survival, such as limited habitat and nesting sites, ingesting rat poison after eating rats, and getting hit by cars while hunting.

What Are Some Effective Strategies Or Techniques For Attracting Barn Owls To An Area That Already Has Existing Structures Or Habitats?

Here are some effective strategies and techniques for attracting barn owls to an area that already has existing structures or habitats:

  1. Provide Nest Boxes: Barn owls will use well-built nest boxes near adequate food sources.

    Place the nest boxes about 12 feet off the ground in dark, secluded areas.

    These areas should be near grasslands, croplands, and other open habitats where prey is abundant.
  2. Increase Food Supply: Barn owls are attracted to areas with large rodent populations.

    Manage land to create rough grassland with a high population of Field Voles, which are the main prey for barn owls.

    Create strips or patches of rough tussocky grassland with a litter layer of dead grass to increase their food supply.
  3. Avoid Chemicals: Avoid using chemicals to kill rodent populations, as concentrated poisons in the rodents can have negative effects on barn owls.
  4. Eliminate Disturbances: Minimize nighttime lights in the surrounding area to avoid disturbing the owls and making them feel exposed.

    This will help create a suitable nesting environment.
  5. Provide Roosting and Nesting Places: In addition to nest boxes, barn owls may also use man-made structures such as barns, sheds, and silos for roosting and nesting.

    Ensure that these structures are accessible to the owls.
  6. Create Suitable Habitat: Open areas such as grasslands, pastures, and croplands are preferred by barn owls.

    Avoid very dense forests, as barn owls generally avoid these areas due to the presence of great horned owls, one of their natural predators.

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