Owl Boxes  

At 05:28 PM 2/29/2008, you wrote:

Dale or who-ever.

I have a client in SE Pennsylvania who would like suggestions for placing an
owl house. Most likely we would be installing it on a tree. Not sure which
type of owls are in our area.

1. How high?
2. Where? Options - Farm field with a few trees. A wooded area. And I guess that is it.
3. facing into woods or not?

Any help would be appreciated.

John A. Keslick, Jr.

== 2 of 8 ==
Date: Sat, Mar 1 2008 5:42 am
From: Andrew Joslin

The owls you have nesting in Pennsylvania are Eastern Screech. Great
Horned, Barred, Northern Saw-whet and Barn.

Of those the following are cavity nesters and can potentially be
coaxed into nesting in a box:
Eastern Screech, Barred, Northern Saw-whet and Barn

Northern Saw-whet is at the southern edge of its breeding range in PA
and may not nest in southeast PA

Eastern Screech Owl is a good target species for a nest box, Barred
is a more woodland species in the northeast so if this a wooded
setting it could work. I don't know much about Barn Owl.

Eastern Screech in the northeast are establishing breeding territory
and selecting nest cavities now. It may or may not be too late to get
a nest box up for this season's breeding cycle. Tough call, you might
want to consult owl experts in your local area, contact the PA
Audubon society for more info. It's worth noting that screech owl use
cavities to roost in year 'round and that they rotate roosts probably
to make it more difficult for predators to pick up on a pattern. So
it doesn't hurt to put up more than one and to put them up at any
time of the year. Expect that squirrels may move in to one, another
reason to put up several.

Generally nest boxes should face east to southeast. The idea is to
get sun early in the morning to warm things up but not too much sun
midday to cook the box, some shade is needed during the warmest part
of the day. Height can be 10-30 ft. above ground.

That's all I got, a little searching on the net should get you the
info you need.

== 3 of 8 ==
Date: Sat, Mar 1 2008 5:47 am
From: Andrew Joslin

Forgot to mention, this is a very informative page for screech owl
nest box construction and installation strategies:


== 4 of 8 ==
Date: Sat, Mar 1 2008 7:12 am
From: "Paul Jost"

Some people like to put the boxes in areas with scattered trees instead of
dense woods, or in non-nutbearing trees because squirrels often take over
the boxes. If the owner won't monitor the boxes for squirrels and be
willing to eliminate them, then the tree species and proximity to nut trees
may be a factor. Once, I saw guidelines for owl nest box height by owl
species on the internet. You may find something like that in a search. I
think barred owls preferred higher boxes while screech and barn owls wanted
them lower while all were in the approximately 10-20 foot range.

Also, prefill the box with inches of large wood chips, not sawdust, to
provide appropriate nesting material. Fine wood dust will suffocate baby

Paul Jost

== 5 of 8 ==
Date: Sat, Mar 1 2008 8:55 am
From: "William Morse"

Here is a really cool video of a screech owl family centered around a
backyard nest box. it has a good sound track too! Travis