Friday, November 12, 2021
The most common owls in Europe are the barn owl, tawny owl, little owl and long-eared owl. Although most owls are no longer threatened with extinction, we would of course like to maintain the population of these fascinating animals and ofcourse catch a glimpse of them. Many owls can easily be helped by improving their habitat and thus by putting up nesting boxes. Owls hardly ever make new nests themselves, but use old abandoned nests of other birds, existing nest boxes or other suitable places in the area of their birthplace.
The tawny owl likes to nest in tree cavities as well as in old barns, dark woodlands and parks. They also adapt easily and are therefore sometimes found in green residential areas. Nevertheless, it is wise not to place the box too close to inhabited houses, because they defend their nest vigorously. The tawny owl starts mating in December and sometimes lays its first eggs in February already. It is therefore advisable to have your client install the tawny owl nesting box before February. Our tawny owl nesting box is made of FSC® certified wood and has a zinc roof to prevent water damage.
Tips for using the tawny owl nesting box:
- Place the nest box 6 to 8 m high in a leafy tree.
- Choose a quiet spot out of the wind and rain.
- Place the hive facing north, to prevent it from hanging in the burning sun in summer.
- If possible, hide the nest box in the top of the tree, but make sure that the tawny owl can fly in and out easily.
- Fill the inside of the nest box with a layer (5 to 10 cm) of sawdust and ground cover (peat).
- Clean it once a year in the period from July to September and check whether the suspension of the box is still satisfactory.
These small tree cavity dwellers have fewer and fewer pollard willows and old fruit trees available, which means that their population is declining rapidly. The little owl box is one of the excellent nesting alternatives. The box consists of two compartments, so that the young owls can move to the front part of the box when they are fed. In case of danger, the little owls can take shelter in the rear chamber. The little owl breeds in April and May. It is therefore wise to place the box in the winter, well before the breeding season (February/March).
Tips for using the little owl nest box:
- Look for a spot near an orchard, wooded bank or group of trees near a farm. Little owls prefer to hunt mice and insects within a radius of 200 metres from their nest.
- Place the nest box at a height of 3 to 5 metres and ensure an open approach route.
- Install the hive with a slight angle of about 5° to the back.
- Place the hive lengthwise on a thick branch so the young can easily walk in and out.
- Place in a shady area so that it does not get too hot in summer.
- Aim the flight hole at the south to south-eastern corner of the hive to avoid rain.
- Cover the bottom 2 to 3 cm with a mixture of tree bark, twigs and/or wood chips.
- The back can be unscrewed for cleaning between October and December (once every two to three years).
Whereas other owls tend to hunt and live in wooded areas, the Barn Owl does the opposite. From its roost or nesting place it will hunt in the (rough) open field interspersed with field edges, wooded banks, hedges or bushes. The owl nests from February until sometimes well into the autumn, preferably in barns, church towers and rafters. These are not always easily accessible anymore. Our barn owl nest box can therefore be mounted on barns, stables, and church towers, but it can also be installed in the attic if the owl can access it through a hole in the wall. The attic will not get dirty in any way if the nest box is entirely walled off from the interior. The Barn Owl Nesting Box, manufactured entirely of FSC-certified wood, a sink roof and features a separating wall on the inside for extra darkness as well as to keep predators out of the nest.
Tips for using the barn owl nesting box:
- Place the nest box 6 to 8 metres above the ground
- Hang the box as far north or east as possible.
- Place a layer of mixture of sawdust, wood shavings or straw in the nest box and cover the bottom with 5 to 10 cm.
- Make sure that the flight hole is clearly visible to the owls from outside.
The long-eared owl
The long-eared owls prefer open nests versus nest boxes. Place the long-eared owl basket on the borders of a forests, park, heathland, dunes, or moors. Secure the basket between thick branches of a (coniferous) tree and, if necessary, use rope to make it particularly secure.
Tips for using the long-eared owl nesting basket
- The basket must be fixed at a height of at least 4 metres.
- If the flying path is no longer entirely clear, prune some branches away.
- Once a year, in the autumn, inspect the nest basket for quality and assembly.
- When necessary, replace or add nesting material (such as dry leaves, forest soil, or peat).
- Kestrels and tree falcons are also drawn to the basket.