I can’t believe it. We put up the barn owl box in an old ash tree about a year ago. I have to admit that I was extremely doubtful that it would get any inhabitants. In part, my doubt was because it isn’t in the ideal location. The box is supposed to be facing into the open and not blocked by any trees. Ours was in a spinney, with an opening in front, but I didn’t think it was big enough.
We haven’t actually seen the barn owls but they’ve left some pretty compelling tell-tale signs. Joe Wood, who made the box, had taken it down so he could reposition it further up the tree. He called me to ask if I’d put any wood and moss in the box, which of course I hadn’t. It was full of it – lots of lovely nesting materials. But even more compelling were the two barn owl feathers, a barn owl poo and an old broken egg!
Joe has now cleared out a lot of the nesting materials and returned the box to the tree. He looked on the Barn Owl Trust website and found out what to do. They said that you need to clean out the boxes mid-winter and not leave too much inside them. This is because if it’s too high in the box the owlets can get to the opening before they’re ready to fly – so they’re more likely to fall and die.
Here’s a video I took of Joe just after the discovery.