Little Owls don’t build nests but rely on ready-made natural nesting sites including hollow branches and rabbit burrows. They will also nest in holes in buildings, cliffs, haystacks and nestboxes which are sited on farmland, orchards, parkland, sand dunes and industrial wasteland where their preferred prey of invertebrates (worms, beetles, slugs, earwigs & moths) supplemented with small mammals, is prevalent.

Either box-type or tube-type designs are suitable, the ideal size of which is 8” x 8” x 15” (37cm x 19cm x 19cms). A critical measurement is the size of the entrance hole - a 3” (7cm) aperture allows the Little Owls easy access but prevents the much larger Tawny Owl from entering. Depending on design, they can be attached to tree trunks with cable ties, or wired to the underside of branches. Ensure that no nails, screws or other sharp edges or points are left to protrude into the box or any part on which the birds might perch.

Young Little Owls begin to leave the nest site at about 3 weeks and like to hide in surrounding vegetation and branches to minimise the risk of the entire clutch being taken by a predator, so bear this in mind when siting your box. Young Little Owls fledge at about 5 weeks, but the parents continue to feed them for another month, at which point they are independent and Ieave the nest to establish their own territory.

Click here to find out more about building and siting owl nestboxes
with our free booklet “Saving Britain’s Owls”