Artificial Nest Sites

4 out of 5 barn owl pairs need to use artificial nest sites
4 out of 5 barn owl pairs need to use artificial nest sites

Providing Artificial Nest Boxes and Sites

Artificial nest boxes and sites are crucial to the Hawk and Owl Trust’s efforts to conserve wild birds of prey. Loss of natural nest sites in areas where habitat is otherwise entirely suitable is a major cause of the decline in raptor populations.

Four in Every Five UK Barn Owls Rely on Nest Boxes
About four in every five barn owl pairs in the UK now depend on boxes for their homes. That’s why a key element of the Hawk and Owl Trust’s conservation work over the past 20 years has been putting up nest boxes – in areas where there is plenty of prey – to compensate for the increasing loss of traditional nest sites.

Anyone adopting a box, for themselves or as a gift, is supporting our vital conservation, research and education work for owls and other birds of prey in the wild. Nest boxes for barn owls can be as big as a kennel and require expert installation. Where there are no suitable trees or buildings to hold a nest box, but feeding habitat is good, boxes are placed on strong poles.

Tawny Owls, Little Owls and Kestrels
Other species that respond well to nest boxes specially designed for their needs are tawny owls, little owls and kestrels. Little owl nest boxes are designed with long entrances to mimic the rotten branches or underground nest sites they favour. Nest boxes for tawny owls are deep to mimic natural tree cavities. Nest sites for kestrels simulate the natural open cavities and ledges which the species prefers.


Open Nests
Species which naturally raise their young in open nests rather than holes also receive Hawk and Owl Trust help. Long-eared owls nest in baskets adapted from hanging baskets for plants.

Peregrines have been encouraged to nest in our cities thanks to special shallow platforms provided on the sides of tall structures, including cathedrals, power stations and pylons.

Other species helped in this way include ospreys, which will nest on special platforms.

The Hawk and Owl Trust has published a guide to the different types of artificial nest for birds of prey, Boxes, Baskets and Platforms, priced £5 including UK postage and packing. It is available from our shop.

Custom built nest boxes for owls and other suitable birds of prey can be ordered from our online store for home delivery or for collection from Sculthorpe Moor Community Nature Reserve