How to attract Owls to your yard?


The best way of attracting Owls to your yard is to offer them a nesting box. Owls do not create their own nests so offering them a home is the perfect way of getting them to stay. 

Add a water feature, large branches, great perching spots and low light in your yard to increase your chances of attracting Owls! 

Despite being found in every corner of the planet; many owls are still relatively rare

What are the benefits of attracting owls? 

Owls can keep the mice, rodent, and insect population down around your home

Here are a few tips that will help you understand how to attract owls to your yard.

Table of Contents

1. Nesting Box

Owls do not create their own nest, therefore they need a place to live.

While some owls prefer a hollow tree, a nesting box offers a safe haven for an owl to raise their little ones. 

A good nesting box should be about ten to twelve feet off the ground and be in a place where their droppings will do no harm.

The Barn Owl is the most likely species of Owl to use a man made nesting box.

One of the best nesting boxes I have personally used is this Owl Nesting box from JC’s Wildlife. It’s a handmade box that is manufactured in the USA and is easy to assemble and fit. 

You should always fill nesting boxes with wood shavings and acorns to make them feel at home.

You can easily set up a small night vision camera in the corner to have your own bird cam! 

Not sure which nesting box to choose?

Here is a quick video that gives guidance on choosing the best nesting box for barn owls!

2. Large Bird Bath

Just like other birds, Owls love to take frequent baths. You’ll want to have a birdbath that is large enough to hold a good-size owl, so they can fully bathe and clean their feathers. 

When combined with a nesting box, this can offer a good place for an owl to roost.

Owls have an incredible sense of hearing. Running water will attract them from far and wide. Add a fountain or a mister to your water feature to make the optimum environment for Owls!

Bird baths are a subjective choice based on your style and yard. Luckily there are plenty of options out there.

This copper VIVOSUN bird bath is durable, large enough and looks great.

3. Large Branches

Owls feel more secure on the large and low branches of the tree. 

When you prune your trees, be sure to keep at least one or two larger branches so the owls will have a comfortable place to perch. 

Perching spots are vital for owls to scout for food and to watch for danger

If you can, provide great perch spots in sheltered and quiet areas of your yard. 

4. No Outdoor Lights

While outdoor lights provide a measure of security, they also drive away owls who like to hunt in the darkness

Put your outdoor lights on a timer, so that when you go to bed they will shut off. 

This will allow the owls an area which to hunt for rodents, insects, and other creatures around your home. 

If you are concerned about security, you may want to try alarms or other methods that protect your property instead of using lights.

5. Tall Grass

Short grass will actually dissuade owls because they naturally hunt the taller grass where they can find their prey.

Rodents, in particular, prefer tall grass because it offers a place to hide. 


Can owls be dangerous?

Owls are specialized hunters of the night and are deadly to their prey however they very rarely pose a threat to anything else.

On rare occasions, they have been known to attack young poultry in the night. Largely, however, these shy birds go about their own business an won’t deviate from their usual diet often.

A species to particularly look out for is the Great Horned Owl. These fierce predators are known to kill their rival raptors such as Ospreys and Peregrine Falcons.

They possess sharp talons that can squeeze the life out of any prey. There have been reports of these owls attacking cats, small dogs, rabbits, and snakes.

So be wary, if you’re attracting Owls to your yard, look out for the Great Horned Owl.

Which Owl species can appear in my yard?

There are 200 species of Owl across the world. Some Owls you’re likely to attract in your back yard are:

  • Barn owl
  • Barred owl
  • Eastern screech-owl
  • Great horned owl
  • Western screech-owl

To find out which Owls can appear in your particular state, take a look at our Owls of USA state list!

Calls of Owls of North America

When are baby Owls born?

The mating season for owls is typically between March and August

Owls will typically lay about 4 eggs on average however not all of these are likely to hatch. 

Owls will incubate their eggs for about a month until they begin to hatch. 

This is the best time of year to buy or create your own nesting box! 

What is the best time of year to attract Owls?

If you are interested in enticing owls into your backyard, the best time to do so is throughout August, or even fall

It does vary heavily on what species you’re hoping to attract, but many owls seem to prefer the temperature of the Autumn months.

As the leaves start to drop, it might even make it easier to spot an owl hiding amongst the branches! 

Why do Owls have flat faces?

You might have noticed that an owl’s face looks somewhat… flat. This isn’t actually the case; their eyes are carefully ringed by feathers to give a flattened appearance!

The reason for this is that it redirects the sound directly into an owl’s ear, heightening their senses and allowing them to hunt more efficiently.

Have you ever noticed that an owl can spin its head COMPLETELY around?

Well, this is a method that they use to hone in on where a sound is coming from. An owl will rotate its head until the sound is of equal volume in both ears; this is how it knows where to start searching for its next meal.

A ‘flattened’ face can help to streamline this process, making it more effective and more accurate!

Do Owls only come out at night?

Owls are generally considered to be nocturnal and this is, to some extent, true. The majority of owl species will only come out at night; as their prey (shrews, mice…) are also nocturnal, it’s much easier for an owl to hunt at night.

This isn’t true in every case, however; there are owls that are diurnal, meaning that they are active throughout the day – such as the Northern Hawk owl and the Northern Pygmy owl.

Interestingly, nocturnal owls do stay semi-alert throughout the day. They like to keep an eye on their territory, making sure that they are safe at all times and never at risk from any threat.


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About Us

We are avid bird-watchers who recently retired, allowing us more time to travel the world. Fortunately, we have managed to visit numerous countries around Europe, Asia, and America. Watching and photographing birds has been a passion for many years and we are making the most of the extra time on our hands!

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