Barn Owl Nesting Box Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Artwork courtesy of Rachel Altschuler

Artwork courtesy of Rachel Altschuler

Are barn owls native to LA?

Barn owls are native to Los Angeles and due to habitat loss, they have become harder to find here in our great city. 

What do they eat?

They dine on all types of rodents, including gophers and are quite the hunters!  They are generally most active at dusk and dawn, and they will typically leave their nesting site in search of suitable grass areas in which to hunt. One barn owl can consume 3,000 rodents per year!

How big are barn owls?

Barn owls are generally 13-16 inches in length and weigh anywhere from 1-1.5lbs.

What if my neighbors use rodent poison, can I have a barn owl box?

When looking to introduce this program to the neighborhood, the more poison free, the better.  Rodents that have been poisoned can take up to 10 days, traveling from house to house, and can gravely endanger the predator that may eat it; including barn owls, mountain lions, red tailed hawks and more.

Will a barn owl eat my small dog or cat?

No.  Barn owls stick to their diet of smaller rodents, gophers, etc.  They are not going to be interested in your household pet.

Do you provide an owl?

No.  The idea is that nature will run its course and an owl will make the decision to nest within your box.

If I have a barn owl box, how long until my first barn owl arrives?

Bringing a barn owl nesting box into the neighborhood is not a guarantee that a barn owl will come immediately, or even at all; however, it is an environmentally sound way to curb rodent issues through natural predators versus poison allowing our entire eco-system to grow and benefit.

When is nesting season for barn owls?

Breeding season is quoted as March to August. This continues to vary and get earlier and earlier in the year due to climate change.

How many eggs will they lay?

Typically 4-6 eggs are laid in one clutch.  Clutches laid earlier in the year are usually larger than those that occur later. Not all of the eggs will hatch, 4 is the average, and some may be infertile.

Can barn owls live near great horned owls?

Yes and no.  All different sized animals exist together in nature.  The great horned owl is a much larger owl, and while it also eats a diet similar to the barn owl, it is known to consume birds such as crows, as well as, other owls. It is possible a barn owl may be considered a threat.  It is also possible it may not be.

Can a different owl nest in my box?

Yes.  We have had cases of other similarly sized owls taking up residence in the barn owl nesting boxes.  However, larger owls will not be able to fit into the nesting box.

What do barn owls sound like?

Barn owls don’t hoot the way great horned owls do, instead they emit a long screech, made mostly by the male.  A softer, more wavering purring call may also be heard.

Why do we want barn owls in our neighborhood?

Bringing barn owls back into their native habitat is a wonderful way to naturally effect the rodent population in a sustainable, safe, and environmentally sound way. 

Where is the best place to put my barn owl nesting box?

There are a few different options to consider, and we can help you to determine the best place in your yard for your box, but typically the box can be put in a large building that a barn owl can enter 3 meters or more above ground.  If you do not have an outdoor building that may work, a barn owl nesting box can be put into a tree.  The tree should be sturdy, tall and suitable to hold a barn owl nesting box.  Another option if neither of the above work for your home is to place the nesting box on a pole.   These can be tricky to install and must be sturdy.  The pole box can be installed almost anywhere making it a popular option if you do not have a tree or outdoor building to consider.

How do I know if I will get an owl where I live?

While we cannot guarantee an owl will take up residence in your nesting box, the chances are increased when there is an available food supply, free of toxins, and an appropriately placed nesting box for them to take up residence. Barn owls are native, and will return to the area when they know they can thrive.