Piedmont Barn Owl Initiative

Barn Owl NC
Barn Owl

Barn Owls have a wide distribution throughout their range but have been in precipitous decline locally for years. Changes in farm practice, the regeneration of local forest, the use of rodenticides, and development have all played a role. Barn Owls need vast, open areas, such as marsh or farmland, to thrive and avoid their main predator, the Great Horned Owl.

New Hope Audubon (now New Hope Bird Alliance) began installing Barn Owl nest boxes in areas with appropriate habitat in 2012. The aim was to encourage dispersing juvenile owls to take up residence and breed, improving local populations.  In 2017 we transferred the Barn Owl project to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC). Since then, NCWRC has been working on a large-scale Barn Owl monitoring project that builds on what New Hope Audubon/NHBA started. More information about the NWRC project can be found at: https://www.ncwildlife.org/Learning/Species/Birds/Barn-Owl.

Building a Barn Owl box

Gluing pieces in place

Measuring and marking

Barn Owls are listed as Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SCGN) in the NC Wildlife Action Plan (NCWAP). These birds are secretive and difficult to survey using traditional methods, so special surveys and nest box monitoring are the most effective ways to observe Barn Owl distribution and abundance. If you see an active nest or other evidence of Barn Owl presence on your property, NCWRC biologists would like to install nest boxes to monitor owl nest success and other life habits. Barn Owls are not attracted to an area just because a nest box is installed, so biologists are interested in places where Barn Owls are already present.

If you have Barn Owls on your property, please contact Allison Medford, Wildlife Diversity Biologist, at (910) 975-9393 or at [email protected].


Ready for owls

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