Attracting Barn Owls to your Yard

If you live on the edge of open country habitat and you’re looking to attract Barn Owls to your yard, there are a few things you should know. These magnificent creatures are not only beautiful to behold, but they also serve a vital role in controlling rodent populations. In fact, a single Barn Owl can consume up to 1200 rodents in a single year! However, to successfully attract these owls, it’s important to take certain precautions. Barn Owls tend to avoid areas with perches, as they are at risk of being attacked by predators like Great Horned Owls. To create a welcoming environment for Barn Owls, it is recommended to set up a nest box on your property, preferably in a large tree, on a pole, or in a barn. Steer clear of busy roads and avoid using rat poison, as these factors can deter owls from your yard. While Barn Owls generally pose little threat to pets, it’s best to keep them away from the nest area. By understanding the nesting habits and preferences of Barn Owls, you can create an inviting space that will encourage these magnificent creatures to make your yard their home.

Attracting Barn Owls to your Yard

Factors to Consider

When it comes to attracting Barn Owls to your property, there are several important factors that you need to consider. These factors include the location of your property, the presence of potential predators, and the environmental conditions in your area.


Barn Owls are typically found on the edges of open country habitat. They prefer areas that provide good hunting opportunities and suitable nesting sites. If your property is located in the countryside or close to fields and meadows, you have a higher chance of attracting Barn Owls.


It is important to be aware of potential predators that may pose a threat to Barn Owls. Great Horned Owls, for example, are known to kill and eat Barn Owls. Therefore, it is crucial to avoid providing perches or roosting spots that may attract Great Horned Owls to your property, as this could deter Barn Owls from nesting in the area.

Environmental Considerations

When attracting Barn Owls, it is essential to consider the environmental conditions of your area. Busy roads can be hazardous for owls, so it is advisable to choose a location that is away from high-traffic areas. Additionally, using rat poison can also be harmful to owls, as they may consume poisoned rodents. To create a welcoming environment for Barn Owls, it is best to avoid the use of rat poison altogether.

Attracting Barn Owls

To attract Barn Owls to your property, you will need to provide them with suitable nesting sites. One effective way to do this is by setting up a nest box specifically designed for Barn Owls. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

Setting Up a Nest Box

A nest box should be sturdy and well-constructed to provide a safe and comfortable nesting spot for Barn Owls. It is important to choose a box made of durable materials that can withstand the elements.

Choosing the Right Location

When selecting a location for your nest box, it is crucial to consider the preferences of Barn Owls. They typically nest in cavities and crevices, such as tree cavities, cliffs, and barns. In order to attract Barn Owls, it is best to place the nest box in a large tree, on a pole, or inside a barn.

Avoiding Hazards

To maximize the chances of attracting Barn Owls, it is important to avoid potential hazards in the vicinity of the nest box. Busy roads can pose a danger to owls, so it is best to choose a location that is away from major traffic areas. Additionally, taking measures to keep pets away from the nest area is advisable to ensure the safety of the owls.

Nest Box Requirements

When it comes to the dimensions, placement, and timing of your nest box, there are several important factors to consider.


The dimensions of a Barn Owl nest box are crucial to its success. The floor of the box should measure around 13×23 inches to provide enough room for the owls. The entrance hole should be approximately 4-1/2 inches in diameter, allowing the owls to easily enter and exit the box.


Proper placement of the nest box is essential for attracting Barn Owls. It is recommended to mount the box at least 12 feet off the ground, in a location that is safe from potential predators. Avoiding prevailing winds and rain is also important to provide a comfortable and sheltered environment for the owls.


The best time to put up a nest box for Barn Owls is in the fall. This gives the owls ample time to inspect the box and become familiar with it before the breeding season begins in the spring. By providing the nest box well in advance, you increase the likelihood of attracting Barn Owls to your property.

Preparing the Nest Box

Once your nest box is in place, it is important to properly prepare it to ensure the best chances of attracting Barn Owls.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Regular cleaning and maintenance of the nest box is crucial for the health and safety of the owls. It is recommended to clean the box each year before the breeding season begins, removing any debris or old nesting material. This helps create a clean and inviting space for the owls to nest.

Adding Nesting Material

To create a suitable nesting environment for Barn Owls, you can add some nesting material to the nest box. A layer of straw or wood shavings can provide the owls with a comfortable and cozy nesting spot. However, it is important to avoid using materials that may be harmful or toxic to the owls.

Attracting Barn Owls to your Yard

Monitoring and Supporting Barn Owls

Once you have attracted Barn Owls to your property and they have successfully nested in your nest box, it is important to continue monitoring and supporting them.

Monitoring the Nest Box

Regular monitoring of the nest box allows you to keep track of the owls’ behavior and breeding success. This includes observing their nesting habits, the number of eggs laid, and any signs of distress or predation. Monitoring can help provide valuable information about the health and well-being of the owls and their nesting success.

Providing Additional Food Sources

While Barn Owls are excellent rodent hunters, providing additional food sources can help support their breeding success. This can include setting up bird feeders to attract small mammals and insects that owls feed on. Planting native vegetation that attracts prey species can also help ensure a steady supply of food for the owls.

Other Tips and Considerations

In addition to the main factors and steps outlined above, there are a few other tips and considerations to keep in mind when attracting Barn Owls to your property.

Planting Native Vegetation

Planting native vegetation in your yard can help attract prey species for Barn Owls. Native plants provide suitable habitats and food sources for rodents, insects, and other small mammals that owls hunt. By creating a diverse and sustainable ecosystem, you can enhance the chances of attracting Barn Owls to your property.

Providing Water Sources

Having a water source, such as a birdbath or small pond, can be beneficial for attracting Barn Owls. Owls need water for drinking and bathing, so providing a clean and accessible water source can be an added incentive for them to choose your property as a nesting site.

Keeping Pets Away from Nest

While Barn Owls pose little threat to pets, it is best to keep them away from the nesting area. This ensures the safety of both the pets and the owls. By establishing boundaries and preventing pets from accessing the nest box, you can create a secure and undisturbed environment for the owls to thrive.

Attracting Barn Owls to your Yard


If you live on the edge of open country habitat and are interested in attracting Barn Owls to your property, there are several key factors to consider. By providing a suitable nest box, choosing the right location, and avoiding potential hazards, you can create an inviting environment for Barn Owls to nest. Regular monitoring, proper maintenance, and supporting the owls with additional food sources can further enhance their breeding success. By following these guidelines and tips, you can enjoy the presence of these beautiful and beneficial birds on your property.

Birds Of Na

Birds Of NA is the top source for finding; bird news, species info & answers to all your questions about birds.

Recent Posts