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How to Attract Owls: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Attract Owls: A Comprehensive Guide Photo by NinaLesley

Owls are majestic creatures known for their nocturnal habits and incredible hunting skills. Having owls in your garden can be a delightful experience, not only because of their beauty but also because they are great at keeping rodent populations in check. In this comprehensive article, we will explore various techniques to attract owls to your outdoor space, including your yard and property. Additionally, we will explore the reasons why attracting owls to your owl box can be beneficial, along with a step-by-step guide on how to install an owl box successfully.

13 Effective Methods for Attracting Owls to Your Yard, Property, and Owl Boxes

Owls play a crucial role in controlling rodent populations, making them beneficial guests in any ecosystem. Whether you're a bird enthusiast or simply wish to enjoy the natural wonders around you, here are some methods to attract owls:

1. Create a Welcoming Environment

To invite owls into your yard or property, you need to create an environment that appeals to them. This includes providing suitable nesting sites, food sources, and protection from predators. Make sure you have enough trees and open space.

2. Offer Proper Nesting Sites

Owls prefer nesting in secluded and elevated locations. Installing owl nesting boxes in your yard can provide them with a safe place to raise their young. These boxes should have the appropriate dimensions and entrance hole size, depending on the owl species you wish to attract.

3. Avoid Excessive Lighting

Owls are nocturnal creatures and prefer dark environments for hunting and nesting. Excessive artificial lighting can disrupt their natural behavior. Opt for motion sensor lights if necessary, ensuring they only activate when needed.

4. Install Perches

Owls use perches for hunting and surveying their surroundings. Installing tall, sturdy branches or poles in your yard can serve as inviting perching spots for these birds.

5. Water Features

Including a water source, such as a birdbath or small pond, can attract owls as they need water for drinking and bathing.

6. Native Plants

Planting native trees and shrubs in your yard provides owls with familiar foraging spots and enhances the overall biodiversity of the area.

7. Limit Noise

Owls have excellent hearing and are sensitive to noise. Reducing loud noises in your vicinity can make it more attractive to owls seeking tranquility.

8. Choose the Right Trees

Certain tree species are more attractive to owls due to their shape and size. Consider planting oak, pine, or spruce trees, which provide excellent nesting sites and perches.

9. Offer Owl-Safe Bird Feeders

Feeding birds in your yard can indirectly attract owls by attracting small mammals, which are their primary food source. Choose bird feeders that are inaccessible to owls to avoid potential conflicts.

10. Limit Outdoor Cats

Cats can pose a threat to owls, especially during nesting season. Keep your cats indoors or supervised to protect both the birds and your pets.

11. Create a Bird-Friendly Garden

Plant flowers that attract insects, which in turn attract birds. A diverse ecosystem will entice owls looking for a bountiful food source.

12. Use Recorded Owl Calls Sparingly

Playing recorded owl calls can attract owls, but use them sparingly to avoid confusing or stressing the birds.

13. Patience is Key

Attracting owls to nesting boxes may take time. Be patient and allow the owls to discover and become familiar with the nesting site at their own pace.

Why You Should Attract Owls

Owls play a vital role in maintaining ecological balance and keeping pest populations in check. Let's explore why you should attract owls to your area.

Natural Pest Control

Owls are natural predators of rodents, such as mice and rats. By attracting owls to your garden, you can create a balance in the ecosystem by reducing the rodent population without using harmful chemicals or traps.

Fascinating to Watch

Owls are captivating creatures with their unique calls and hunting techniques. Having them in your garden provides a wonderful opportunity to observe their behavior up close, making your outdoor space more enchanting.

Conservation Efforts

Many owl species face habitat loss and environmental challenges. By attracting them to your garden, you contribute to their conservation by providing a safe and welcoming space for these magnificent birds.

How to Install an Owl Box

An owl box mimics natural tree cavities and offers a suitable habitat for owls to raise their young. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to install an owl box:

1. Choose the Right Location

Selecting the perfect location for your owl box is crucial. Place it in a quiet area away from human traffic and bright lights. Ideally, the box should face east to avoid direct exposure to prevailing winds and strong afternoon sun.

2. Optimal Height

Mount the owl box at a height of 10 to 20 feet above the ground. This height ensures that the box is safe from predators while mimicking the natural nesting locations of owls.

3. Proper Installation

Ensure the owl box is securely attached to a tree or a pole. Use strong thread and make use of tree branches to guarantee it stays in place even during harsh weather conditions. Avoid using screws and nails so you don’t harm the trees.

4. Choose the Right Box Design

The size of the owl box and the entry hole should be suitable for the owl species in your area. Research the owls native to your region and order the owl box accordingly.

5. Bedding and Nesting Materials

Add a layer of bedding material such as wood chips or sawdust inside the owl box. This provides a comfortable space for the owls to nest and raise their young.

6. Avoid Chemicals

Keep the area around the owl box free from harmful chemicals or pesticides, as owls are sensitive to toxins. Embrace organic gardening practices to ensure a healthy environment for these birds.

7. Be Patient

It may take some time for owls to discover and adopt your owl box. Be patient and avoid disturbing the box during nesting season. Once they find it, you'll be rewarded with their presence and natural pest control benefits.


Attracting owls to your owl box, yard or property is not only a rewarding experience but also an essential step towards wildlife conservation. By providing a safe and inviting space for these enchanting creatures, you play a role in maintaining the ecological balance in your garden. Remember to choose the right location, install the owl box properly, and be patient as you wait for owls to grace your garden.


Can I install multiple owl boxes in my garden?

Yes, installing multiple owl boxes can attract a greater diversity of owls to your garden. Ensure the boxes are placed at a safe distance from each other.

What should I do if pests infest the owl box?

If pests infest the owl box, avoid using harmful chemicals. Instead, clean the box thoroughly and replace the bedding material with fresh material.

How often should I clean the owl box?

It is best to clean the owl box once a year, preferably during late winter or early spring before the nesting season begins.

Can I attract owls to my yard if I live in an urban area?

Yes, it is possible to attract owls to urban areas with careful planning and consideration of their needs. Creating suitable habitats, providing nesting boxes, and attracting natural prey species can encourage owls to visit your yard even in urban settings.

How do I know if owls are present in my area?

Listen for owl calls during the night, particularly around dusk and dawn. Look for owl pellets or feathers on the ground, indicating their presence in the vicinity.

Can I feed owls directly?

Feeding owls directly is not recommended as it can disrupt their natural hunting behavior and dependency on wild prey. Attracting natural prey species will indirectly provide food sources for owls.

Are owl calls a reliable method to attract them?

Playing recorded owl calls can be effective in attracting owls, but it should be done sparingly and thoughtfully to avoid confusing or stressing the birds.