Designing & Building Barn Owl Nest Boxes

The IBM Almaden Research Center, located in San Jose, California, is pioneering the design of artificial nest boxes by partnering with a dedicated volunteer.

Steve Simmons of Merced, California, developed a Barn Owl box plan that has been in extensive use throughout the Central Valley after years of experimenting with and documenting the siting, mounting, and design of artificial nest boxes for Barn Owls. As a shop teacher, he organized the student production of over 10,000 Barn Owl boxes, which were sold to local ranchers for pest control. The sales from the boxes provided over $168,000 in scholarship money for his students over a nine-year period. His personal monitoring of Barn Owl boxes (currently 200 annually at 8 sites) has led to an enormous amount of data on year-round behavior, reproductive habits, diet, predators, habitat requirements, and nest box preferences. Mr. Simmons and other volunteers have placed seven Barn Owl nest boxes at the Almaden Research Center, all of which are monitored on a regular basis.

Download a copy of the Simmons Barn Owl Nest Box Design and start your own project!

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2 replies
  1. Michelle Candland
    Michelle Candland says:

    I’ve scoured the internet looking for the best resource for building a barn owl box. This site is wonderful! It not only has easy to understand plans and instructions, it also answers lots of the additional questions I have about habitat, placement, etc.

    Thank you for making this information available to all of us who love nature and would much rather invite owls than put out poison!

    Michelle Candland
    Alpine California

  2. Richard Crandon
    Richard Crandon says:

    Interested in using your box design in Australia – rats are a major problem in macadamia plantations on the North Coast of New South Wales – to date growers have been using selected poisons / baits to kill the rats – this has now proved detrimental to the birdlife in the plantations ie owls, eagles, hawks & crows – I have downloaded your plans etc. and plan to erect these boxes as a test program in a number of plantations – I will keep you posted on the outcome.

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