I regularly hear tawny owls around my house, so thought it might be a good idea to get some tawny nest boxes up to see if I could get some to breed near to me and, possibly, to provide myself with some photographic opportunities. I would also like to get a camera in one at some point. I recently had Helen from the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Barn Owl Trust to visit me about another project I am planning! I told her about the boxes I had purchased a little while ago and she recommended two places to put these boxes.
Tawnys are territorial owls and can defend a territory of 45 – 75 acres in quality woodland. As with all owls, they make no attempt to build a nest. They like to use tree hollows and the design of the box I have is meant to mimic this. Breeding can start as early as February, with the female laying 2-4 eggs. The eggs are incubated for 30-33 days and the young remain in the nest for only 20-24 days. When they leave the nest, they are only partially feathered. They climb into the tree where they continue their development.
A bridle path runs opposite my house and there are a number of large mature trees there, overlooking fields. Helen felt that one of these trees would be ideal. Today, we managed to get one of the boxes up…. a lot easier than the kestrel box that we put up earlier in the year! Luckily, the tree we had chosen, had a fork in it that created a platform to stand on, from which the box could be bolted onto the tree.
It would be brilliant if a tawny decided to take up residence.
The second box is going to go up on a neighbour’s tree. I will get some photos on as soon as it is up. The advantage of his tree is that quite close by, is a power point, so if something does nest in it, then I may be able to power a camera. The tree that I have put mine up in is too far away to run a cable. If I get a stealth camera in the future, though, I could set it up nearby to see if the box is being used.