How to Build an Owl House

Screech owls are found throughout much of North America, but much of their natural habitat has vanished due to human intervention. You can be a steward of nature by building a nesting box for owls using these instructions.


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You Will Need

  • 2 10-in. x 1-in wood side pieces, 18½ in. tall in back, 17 in. tall in front
  • Drill
  • Wood front piece, 16¾ in. x 7¾ in. x 1 in.
  • Hole saw
  • Wood back piece, 32 in. x 7¾ in. x 1 in
  • Measuring device
  • 24 2 in. galvanized screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Wood bottom piece, 8½ in. x 7¾ in. x 1 in.
  • Wood top piece, 12 in. x 11¼ in. x 1 in.
  • Saw
  • 2small brass hinges, with screws
  • 1½ in. brass wood screw, with washer
  • Wood strip, 1 in. x 11¼ in. x 1 in.
  • Nails
  • Carpenter's glue
  • Caulk
  • Chisel (optional)


  1. Step 1

    Drill ventilation holes

    Drill two ½-inch ventilation holes in the side pieces, approximately 1 inch from the top of each side. Drill ½-inch drainage holes in the center and each corner of the bottom piece.

  2. Step 2

    Cut an entrance hole

    Cut a 3-inch-diameter entrance hole in the front piece. The center of the hole should be 4 inches below the top of the front piece and centered between the sides.

  3. Chisel or scrape horizontal scratches into the inside of the front piece between the floor level and the entrance hole. This will allow young owlets to climb out.

  4. Step 3

    Attach sides

    Measure 7 inches from the bottom of the back piece. This is where the bottoms of the sides pieces will go. Screw each side piece to the back piece using three screws. The tops of the side pieces should slope toward the front.

  5. Step 4

    Attach bottom

    Screw the bottom piece in place so that it is positioned ½-inch above the bottoms of the side pieces. Use three screws on each side.

  6. Step 5

    Attach front

    Screw the front piece in place so that it is even with the side pieces. Use three screws on each side and on the bottom.

  7. Step 6

    Attach top

    Cut the back end of the top piece so that it lays flush against the back of the owl box. Attach the top to the back of the box with two hinges. Let the top extend at least 1 inch beyond the sides of the box and 2 inches beyond the front. Attach the top of the box to the front with the brass screw and washer.

  8. Some Barred Owls have pink belly feathers, whhich are likely attributable to the owl's crayfish-heavy diet.