How to Build a Barn Owl Box




Introduction: How to Build a Barn Owl Box

Purpose: To construct and install a fully functioning Barn Owl nest box that can be used for nesting broods.

Why build a Barn Owl box? Barn Owls are one of the most widespread owl species in the world, but in many parts of their range across the United States, populations have been declining because of habitat loss. These birds prey upon small mammals, particularly rodents, which makes them beneficial in many habitats. Many farmers are major advocates of owl nest boxes for this reason alone. These birds require nests that are roomy enough to support a brood size up to 18 nestlings, yet small enough to deter larger birds like the Great Horned Owl from entering the nests. Barn Owls are cavity nesters and therefore, do not build their own nests. This reason is why it is highly important to encourage people to create nest boxes. By constructing nest boxes, Barn Owls are encouraged to inhabit them and rear their young in them.

For Safety:
Wear goggles for eye protection when using the saw

Be aware when using the saw

When not in use, keep saw out of reach of children

Keep track of tools at all times

Wear closed-toe shoes

Equipment Checklist:

4’ x 8’ x ½” plywood sheet


56 (minimum) common nails, size 8d

Safety goggles

Ruler or yard stick

# 2 pencil or preferred marking utensil


12 amp 7 1/2" electric circular saw

1 lb of wood shavings

Overview of Steps:

1. Measuring and cutting plywood boards

2. Drilling holes in bottom board for drainage

3. Assembling the pieces for a finished product

4. Bedding installation

Step 1: Measuring and Cutting Plywood Boards

1. Using your ruler, measure out two sections that are 22” x 23” and make a mark using your pencil. These two pieces will be designated as the top and the bottom of the nest box.

2. Using the same plywood board, measure four sections that are 18” x 22” and mark them with your pencil. These pieces will be used for the two sides, the front, and the back.

3. Now, you are going to want to put your goggles on and grab the saw. Cut out each section from the plywood that you have traced. Take your time on this part and make sure to follow along the lines.

4. Take one of the 18” x 22” pieces you have cut and designate it as the front board that will have the entrance. Measure 5.5” from both edges on the longer side and then draw a line from to this point towards the opposite of the board that is 10” long.. This should give you a space in between those two points that is 10” long. Finally, connect the two 10” lines all the way across to make a square.

5. Once you have completed step 4, use your saw to carefully cut out the 10” x 10”entrance square.

6. With the leftover plywood, measure one section 16” x 3’ and make a mark using your pencil. Measure another section of 3” x 3” and mark it with your pencil.

7. Carefully use your saw to cut the marked areas. These are the pieces for the platform that will be nailed under the entrance square. You now all the pieces you need to start constructing the nest box.

Step 2: Drilling Holes in Bottom of Board for Drainage

1. Before assembling the nest box, take the bottom 23” x 22” piece of plywood and, using the drill, drill a generous number of holes approximately ¼” to ½” in diameter, 1"-2" apart.

Step 3: Assembling the Pieces to Create a Finished Product

1. Put one 22” x 18” side panel and the front panel together so that they meet at a 90 degree angle. Make sure the front panel is facing the correct way, with the entrance at the top. The side panel should overlap the front panel for easy assembly. Hammer at least 4 nails into the side panel where they come together, spaced apart as needed.

2. With another 22” x 18” side panel, attach it to the opposite side of the front panel at a 90 degree angle, overlapping the side panel on top. Hammer in at least 4 nails the same way as the first side panel.

3. Now attach the last 22” x 18” side panel (the back) at a 90 degree angle to the two attached sides. Hammer at least 4 nails into each edge through the back panel the same way you attached the others in step 1 & 2.

4. Flip the box over and lay the bottom 22” x 23” panel on top. Try to line up the sides of the box with the edge of the panel as precisely as possible. Hammer in at least 4 nails on each edge similar to the previous steps.

5. Flip the box back over, so that the bottom is on the bottom. From the inside, use at least 2 nails to hammer in the 3" x 3" base of the platform.

Step 4: Bedding Installation

1. Cover the bottom of the nest box evenly with 1”-2” of wood shavings.

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    2 years ago

    This it the first nest box for barn owls I have seen with an entry larger than 5 inch diameter. How do you keep Horned owls out?


    6 years ago

    Any recommendations on placement? Have you gotten any tennants yet?