Sunday, May 24, 2009

Barn Owl Nesting Boxes - design

It's nesting season and time to put up Barn Owl nesting boxes. Don't put them on a pole - when the babies fledge they need a place to hop/fly to, ie. branches. So put the nesting box in a tree, properly secured.

The box must be near an owl grocery store, meaning open land where there are mice. They don't hunt in undergrowth and bushes.

The best design I know of, tried and true, can be found at

This organization provides nest boxes all over San Francisco where people have rodent problems. Instead of putting poisons out, they put up a nest box.

The problem w/ rodent poisons is this: Rodent eats poison. Owl or hawk sees dead rodent, thinks "yay! Free meal!" and eats it and feeds it to the entire family and the whole owl/hawk family is killed. Or a cat or dog or raccoon or other animal eats it. It causes a chain reaction rather than just getting rid of the rodent.

So the nest boxes are the best answer. They also provide a safe place for the owls, and you know, they're endangered in some parts of the USA.

Good luck!



Calvin+Luna said...

Hi Stacey,

I found this little guy on ETSY and was so struck by how sweet he was i wanted to share him with you.



AJKnopp said...

Hi, Stacey - my daughter, Ellie, just finished reading your book and LOVED it. I plan to read it as well, in my copious free time. At any rate, I wanted to write you to let you know what an awesome role model you are for young people in a world which is jam-packed with so much media and pop culture. Ellie is 10 now and has loved owls all her life. Of course, she plans to go into some field of study that will put her close to owls on a regular basis. She would love to meet you some day and would love to know what you're doing now and if you're working with any owls...Thank you again for writing such a wonderful book - this world needs more like it.

Amy Knopp

Sea Star Studios said...

Around here, with all the crops, the farmers do put out nesting boxes. I see them everywhere, which is great. But they're all on poles. I had never thought about the little babies falling as they learned to fly.

~Jenny Swartzbaugh

Rose Leal said...

Hi Stacey..I loved your book Wesley. I cryed very. I am Bralian, excuse-me..I dont't speak english.
Rose Leal

Malia said...

Dear Stacey,

Thank you for your wonderful book! First my mom read it and then she sent me a book. Actually, she was able to get two of your signed copies so we each have one (her local bird store in Orange County, California had a book signing that you came to and although unfortunately she couldn't be there, the lady who runs the store was sure to get two books signed for her!).

Anyway, I loved the book and couldn't put it down. I cried of course at the end (actually my mom and I both cried throughout the book during the particularly poignant parts), and I could completely relate to your close and meaningful relationship with another beautiful and sentient creature. I also enjoyed reading about Wesley's antics and the "translations" of his little sounds. So cute.

Your story is so compelling and such an education for people who still don't realize the preciousness of animals as individuals. And you took care of him so well -- what serious dedication! At the end, I couldn't help but wish for you to get another owl baby to take care of!

I live in a semi-rural area in Sacramento, and everybody on my street has a small amount of land (between 1/2 and 1 1/2 acres each lot). Due to the many fields in our area and a giant abandoned dance hall, we are lucky enough to have barn owl neighbors. My boyfriend and I love spying our owl papa hunting at night for his family, and we're always listening to different screeches, clicks, hisses, and creaks (like a squeaky bike?) in the night and my boyfriend has been fortunate enough to see one of the barn owls hovering just a few feet from him on more than one occasion. We would never use pesticides or poisons on our lot because of our own pets and of course the barn owls.

One late evening after a very close encounter with a barn owl outside, we started looking up online everything we could about barn owls (this was before I read your book!). Well, we ended up finding some recordings of barn owl vocalizations, and then, not aware that our speakers were turned up all the way, we pressed PLAY. A huge screech blasted in our ears, and, to our surprise, pretty soon after, we heard a matching screech in the distance coming from outside our house! He was talking back to us! It was so fun to connect with the owl at even the most superficial level, so after I read your book I could only imagine the joy you must have experienced taking care of your very own owl on such an intimate level. Lucky! :-)

Gosh, I'm going on and on! But I just wanted to tell you thank you for an inspiring, touching book and some great writing; I hope to read more from you. Good luck and very best wishes in all your endeavors!

~Malia Fee

Laura TeHennepe said...

Just finished reading Wesley! What an experience. I'm so glad you had it, and wrote of it. Thank you!

I have an apt on 10 acres near Gainesville, Fl and have had amazing Barn Owl neighbors over the past two years. At least two, maybe three.

Do you know if they migrate? Saw two roosting in two different trees earlier this winter/spring, but haven't seen either (or signs of them) for weeks, and wonder if they've headed to cooler climes...?

Katherine said...

I was so pleased to hear of the idea of using owl nesting boxes and the natural predatory nature of owls to solve the overpopulation of rodents! It is such an earth-friendly, compassionate and NEAT idea I was very excited about it! I live in a city and have a problem with roaches and really do not like the idea of putting poisons around my house so I looked for a natural solution online and was happy to find a simple, effective and similar idea! The idea is to house geckos in your house, which have a ravenous appetite, to keep the bugs at bay! So not only do I solve the bug problem but I also get a new pet!!