Little Owls are a naturalised species that can be found throughout England, Wales and the Scottish Borders. The population is low, probably fewer than 7,000 pairs, and the birds are difficult to census as they have large territories and are most active at dawn and dusk. The data available suggest that Little Owls have suffered a rapid decline in numbers since the 1980s, probably as a result of changes in habitat including loss of nest sites.
This nest box has been designed in association with BirdLife Netherlands to reduce predation by stone martens. Although stone martens aren’t present in the UK the box incorporates other features that offer benefits for Little Owls. The box is made from 18mm exterior grade plywood for added protection from the elements, and includes a large nesting chamber that allows the owlets to exercise their wings without having to leave the safety of the nest box. A special double baffle entrance keeps the nest chamber dark, which Little Owls prefer, and also protects the Little Owls from predation by Tawny Owls. Access for cleaning or ringing is via a removable roof panel.
Site between 3 and 5 metres high on an isolated tree or building in farmland, parks, golf courses or other areas with a mix of grass and hedges or copses. Line the box with wood chips or shredded bark to cushion the eggs, but avoid sawdust or soil that may clog the drainage holes.