Project Barn Owl is a venture of the Carolina Raptor Center's Research Committee that morphed into a Barred Owl project. Working with local landowners, schools, and Eagle Scouts, we were planning to install Barn Owl nest boxes in the Charlotte region. As we spread the word that we wanted to build nest boxes for owls, lots of people wanted to help, but because we have so much more Barred Owl habitat (forests) than Barn Owl habitat (old fields), most of the people who showed up had land that would be suitable for Barred Owls.
ABOUT BARN OWLS.
The Barn Owl is found throughout the continental United States. As their name implies, barn owls make their homes in old barns, silos, or cavities in hollow trees. They survive by feeding on the small rodents that live in fields and hedgerows. Barn Owls will readily use man-made nest boxes. Although little is known about these nocturnal creatures, it is believed that nesting pairs may remain in the same territory year round. Barn Owls are unique among raptors in that they can lay eggs anytime as long as adequate food is available.
Regionally, it is speculated that Barn Owl populations are shrinking as urban development encroaches on their open-country habitat. It is the hope of the Carolina Raptor Center to restore a stable population of Barn Owls and to study their behavior and reproduction. By building nest boxes and locating them in areas known to have barn owls, researchers will be able to preserve existing populations. Rehabilitated Barn Owls will also be able to be released into areas equipped with nest boxes that have sufficient prey, but no previous suitable housing.
The project will provide a secure and long-term supply of nest sites in the area. We will involve students in our research into the natural history of the species, which is poorly known in the southeastern US.
More details will be added when I can....