The Importance of Nest Box Placement for Barn Owls (Tyto alba)

Motti Charter, Gabe Rozman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nest boxes have been used for years to increase breeding bird numbers for conservation and also in biological pest control projects. Barn owls (Tyto alba) have been used as biological pest control agents for rodents for years, and since nest boxes are costly for growers there is a need to determine whether nest box placement can increase the occupation of nest boxes and breeding success. We studied whether barn owl breeding in agricultural areas varied in nest boxes located on trees, poles located in the shade, and poles in the sun. The occupation of nest boxes was highest in nest boxes located on trees, followed by poles in the shade, and finally poles in the sun. In comparison, the number of fledglings was highest for nest boxes on poles in the sun followed by poles in the shade in the first half of the breeding season, whereas more nestlings were fledged in nest boxes on trees in the second part of the breeding season, which is most likely due to the higher internal temperatures in the nest boxes located in the sun. Interestingly, all the nest boxes’ internal temperatures were lower than the ambient temperatures but were much lower on trees than those on poles, most likely due to the trees providing better protection from the heat. It is therefore important to not only consider the placement of nest boxes, but how occupation and breeding success may vary seasonally.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2815
Issue number20
StatePublished - 18 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • breeding success
  • nest site
  • pest control
  • shade
  • sun

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Veterinary


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