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Photo by Tom Grey

Cavity Nesters Recovery Program (CNRP) Build a Barn Owl Box

Barn Owls have been the subjects of wonder, wisdom, magical accoutrements, and folklore for ages. Their presence adds beauty and enchantment to the environment, and their significant rodent control skills comprise a very practical need for their presence. Habitat reduction has reduced their numbers over the last century, and an active program of owl box construction will help offset this.


Barn Owl by Tom Grey
Barn Owl ©Tom Grey

This Barn Owl box plan was developed by Steve Simmons of Merced, California, and has been in extensive use since 1995. Simmons has become a significant contributor to bird ecology through a massive program of building nest boxes, followed by studying the occupants via banding. For years Simmons has monitored hundreds of these Barn Owl boxes, and banded over 14,000 Barn Owls by 2010. Working with students from the University of California at Davis, Washington State University, California State University at Chico, and the California Polytechnic University, he has noted Barn Owl courtship behavior, deciphered their diet, observed the competition between owls and other avian species, and experimented with variations in siting, mounting and designs of the box.


Barn Owl Nest Box Plans

Build your own box using the complete plans and information in Build a Barn Owl Box (PDF) (© February 2012) by Charles G. Wade, Lee Pauser, and David Altknecht.


Plans and information contain:

  • • tool requirements
  • • required materials
  • • drawings of the box including exploded views
  • • cutlist showing how the parts can be cut from a sheet of plywood
  • • finishing of the parts before assembly
  • • entrance hole dimensions
  • • steps to assemble the box
  • • mounting methods and considerations
  • • where to place the box
  • • the breeding cycle and life style of Barn Owls
  • • box maintenance