If you do install a Kestrel or Barn Owl nest box, please be sure to let us know. If you are in the Duhallow area we may be able to visit your site and offer advice on the best place to install the box, and even help to put it up. All boxes within the Duhallow region can be included in the Survey results and can provide us with vital information about nest box usage by the species. Contact details are on this page HERE.
Time of year
Although boxes can be installed at any time of year, it is best to have Barn Owl and Kestrel boxes in place by mid-March if there is to be a chance that they might be used in the summer of that year.
Kestrel nest box
Here is an illustration of a Kestrel nest box, showing the dimensions. 10mm or 12mm Marine ply is best. Roofing felt can also be used over the top and sides to provide additional protection.
Note the small perch at the entrance. This allows the adult and young to perch outside the box.
1) Face the box away from the prevailing winds (so generally, face the box toward the north or east).
2) The box can be placed in a barn, an old building or shed, or on a tree.
3) Put the box at least 20 feet from the ground if possible.
4) Put the box away from occupied houses, roads, or any other area where people visit regularly. The quieter, the better.
5) Don't 'hide' the box. Make sure the box is visible to a passing Kestrel. If the box is in a tree, trim away branches at the entrance so that birds have a clear flight path to the box.
Kestrel nest box installed in an Ash tree (Photo: M.O'Clery).
Barn Owl box
Barn Owl nest boxes are bigger and heavier than Kestrel boxes and great care is needed during their installation. Two people and two ladders might be necessary to install it. Take all safety precautions.
Below is an illustration of a Barn Owl nest box. 10mm or 12mm ply is best. This is only suitable for indoor sites. Click on the image if you need to see a larger view.
1) Barn Owls won't tolerate regular human intrusion into their nesting area. Be sure to place the box at a site well away from normal human activity, machinery, etc.
2) Suitable sites include disused barns, derelict or ruined houses or other buildings, or disused sheds.
3) Put the box at least 15 feet from the ground if possible.
4) Many Barn Owls are struck by cars, so place nest boxes well away from busy main roads.
5) Barn Owls also prefer two or more access points to their nest, if possible, and the entrances to the building (window, door, hole in wall, etc) should be high up, not only at ground level.
6) Nest boxes are more likely to be used if there is also good hunting habitat very near by (rough grassland, woodland edge, marsh or river edge, thick hedgerow.
If you would like to install a Barn Owl nest box, please be sure to let us know. If you are in the Duhallow area we may be able to visit your site and offer advice on the best place to install the box, and even help to put it up. All boxes within the Duhallow region can be included in the Survey results and can provide us with vital information about nest box usage by the species. Contact details are on this page HERE.
Barn Owl nest box installed high in the rafters of an old mill (Photo: M.O'Clery).
Installing a Barn Owl nest box in a disused, open-sided barn (Photo: M.O'Clery).