Welcome To My World
– The Batty Eagle Man
Owl Nesting House
HOW I GO ABOUT BUILDING THE NESTING BOX
MATERIALS / DESIGN
- Untreated wood – recycled or bought
- Seal wood with non-toxic product
- Adjust plan dimensions according to your specific material sizes
- Line the base with gravel and top with untreated wood shavings or pine needles
- Ensure there are water drainage holes in base of box
- 3-6m above the ground
- Be secure and stable
- Avoid direct sun to or from the entrance
- Position box out of any prevailing wind
- Have a clear flight path into the box
- Be in a quiet, undisturbed area (away from general household noise and pets)
- It is ideal to place owl nesting box where the owl would naturally nest, this being in an open fork of a tree (spotted eagle owl) or in a loft of a shed or on the under the eaves
- The owls do not use the box as a house during the year, only when they breed
- Discontinue the use of rodent poisons in the vicinity of your barn owl nest box. (encourage neighbours to do the same)
- Do not attempt to lure owls to the box with food, this will only encourage other animals and deter the owl.
Be sure to maintain the box on an annual basis during the month of May/June where you will need to tighten all the screws, remove all debris from previous breeding season and renew the inside floor with sand/gravel mix, treat the wood with a good penetrating wax sealer stain (do not use varnish as this is too cumbersome to maintain). Do all the maintenance work whilst the box is mounted in the tree and also check that the fixing wires are still in good condition.
For the Spotted Eagle Owl
The Spotted Eagle Owl (SEO) is a fairly open box that is usually mounted in trees, supported on and tied to a stable flat fork branches with its back tied against the main trunk with the entrance opening facing south. The height and position of the box varies as it depends on the tree size, but not less than 4m. It is imperative to use an extendable 3-6m ladder and to tie the top end to the trunk by means of an adjustable strap purely to secure and extra stability. By means of a rope, the box is hoisted into the tree and positioned on the predetermined branch. Only remove the rope once the box is adequately tied down and secured. When positioning the box, do keep in mind that owls do not like facing directly into the sunrise (east) and setting sun (west). Always use a strong but flexible wire that is cut in lengths and chased through varying lengths of pre-cut 13mm dia. hose pipe, which is used to protect the branches from the wire cutting into the bark. Once stable, we place a 10mm thick layer of river sand mix with an approx. 5mm dia. crushed stone and spreading it evenly on the inside floor of the box. The owls will only use the box for breeding purposes which in South Africa is from August to October.
For the Western Barn Owl
The Western Barn Owl (WBO) is a closed box with only one opening for entry/exit with the opening facing south. A slightly larger box than the SEO, it is rectangular in shape and stained black on the inside roof, walls and floor. A layer of wood chips (obtained from reputable nurseries) of about 10mm thick must be placed on the inside floor. The inside of the roof is also covered with a black plastic – cut piece of 150-200 micron – that is stapled to the roof with an industrial stapler (can be obtained from most reputable hardware stores). Lining the inside roof is a deterrent to prevent honey bees from attaching their cones to the ceiling. To create more permanent darkness inside the box, one can place a pre-cut piece of 9mm thick plywood alongside the opening (between opening and breeding area) that is screwed/glued to the wall and base. Be sure to leave an opening at the rear of the partition of about 15-20cm for the owls to pass through unhindered. Unlike the SEO, the WBO will use the box throughout the year and they don’t mind it being messy on the inside and it is suggested that no maintenance is done on the boxes for fear of unnecessarily harassing the owls. Fixing the box into a tree is exactly the same as that of the SEO.
We are grateful to our sponsors, Bolt and Engineering Distributors, who so graciously supply the material for our bathouses! Thank you for your support, guys!
Swartland, Clarens, 9707
+27 (79) 505-6419