In August 2016 we made a Barn Owl box using the Barn Owl Trust's instructions for building nest boxes: https://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/barn-owl-nestbox/owl-boxes-for-trees/. We installed the box in a tree in late December 2016.
Barn Owls are often found over grassland margins of arable fields, and other rough grassland. Trees in this habitat are ideal locations for boxes to be installed. Barn Owls have wide wings and an acute sense of hearing to listen out for their prey. They can be seen hovering over rough grassland with their feet outstretched, waiting to swoop down and collect prey.
The box was inspected in August 2017, working closely with a surveyor who holds a Natural England Barn Owl licence. Numerous Barn Owl pellets and feathers were recorded in the nest box. The pellets were whole, not shredded, indicating that this box was a roost site, not a nest site. The feathers indicated a moulting adult rather than a dispersing juvenile.
For four days between 26-30 December 2017, a trail camera was installed to a tree nearby to the roost box. Nesting Barn Owl adults and dependent young are protected from disturbance under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act and therefore this was completed after the August box check which confirmed that Barn Owl were not breeding here in 2017 and several months prior to March to August when the vast majority of Barn Owls lay eggs and rear young, to avoid disrupting any birds in their intended nesting place. Disturbance was minimal with the trail camera installed outside the box for four days only, and we will now leave the box to minimise disturbance to the roosting Barn Owl.
The photos below show the Barn Owl using the front ledge of the box to stretch its wings during daylight hours in the monitoring period. The Barn Owl was also recorded using the ledge to look at the ground beneath during hours of darkness around dusk and dawn, likely for hunting.