The Tawny Owl is a woodland bird and as one of the most adaptable of owl species, can be found even in urban and garden environs. Tawny Owls are content to nest in smaller cavities than Barn Owls and the designs for suitable nest-boxes reflect this.

The upright kind can be fixed to tree trunks or larger branches and measure up to 36” (90cms) in length; chimney nestboxes - which replicate the hollow ends of large broken branches - can be longer, up to 60” (150cms) in length and can be strapped to the underside of sloping branches with an angle of c. 45 degrees. Both types of box need an entrance of not less than 10” (25cms) square which should face away from prevailing wind and rain; should have several drainage holes at their base and need to be sited at least 12 feet (3.7m) from ground level.

Because, unlike Barn Owls, Tawny Owl chicks start to explore their surroundings well before fledging, the box needs to have nearby branches they can climb over. As a possible garden dweller, it should be appreciated that Tawny Owls are sensitive to disturbance when on eggs, and can also be aggressive, dangerous even, if they or their young are approached. So it is best to leave them well alone while they are nesting and you need to consider the likely proximity of young children in the garden before putting up the box.

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