American Kestrel/ Western Screech Owl

Box Guide

 *ORC does not install boxes. If you would like a referral for installation (which will include a separate fee) please email us.

If you are interested in building your own American Kestrel/Screech owl box, click here for plans.

Hanging your box-

 -Your box should be hung 12-18 ft. high, preferably in a tree. Hanging on the sides of outbuildings or barns can also be successful. Posts and poles are also suitable if there is canopy nearby, or if the box will get some shade. Hang the box so it may be easily accessed to be cleaned.

 -The box should be hung facing any direction but consider where your weather fronts come in and what times of day the box will get the most sun exposure.

 -You may add a thin layer of pine needles or other leaves (not oak) to the bottom of the box). Avoid using saw dust, straw or other materials that will accumulate moisture. Most cavities will be naturally bedded with feathers and crushed pellets.

 -Inhabited boxes should be cleaned once a year, November-January. Sweeping out debris, pellets, feathers etc. is suitable. Soap and water are not necessary. 

 -If you hang your box in a tree, make sure there is a good flight path for birds to fly in and out. Remove any branches directly in front of the box hole. 

 -The box front should be floating- i.e. not sitting on a limb or near limbs where potential predators would be able to climb in. Snakes, and other birds are predators to Screech Owls and Kestrels.

 *Diatomaceous earth may be sprinkled along seams of box to deter ants and other insect activity.

How to tell if your box is inhabited-

Hunting- For Western Screech Owls hunting usually takes place 1-2 hours after dusk and 1 hour before sunrise so watch/listen for activity during those times. For American Kestrels, hunting will take place throughout the day.

Does the entrance hole have wear and tear on the bottom portion?

Are there feathers around the box site?

Are there pellets? Pellets are egested by birds of prey and consist of indigestible material like bones, fur and feather.

American Kestrel natural history information

Western Screech Owl natural history information