Thunder Eagle Wildlife
Thunder Eagle Wildlife

Owl Nest Box Plans

Eastern Screech owls and Barred Owls are both common in Virginia. These birds readily accept nest boxes.

Building A Screech Owl House

~ design by Anthony Altorenna~



Things You Need:
1" x 12" x 8' pine or oak board

Basic Woodworking Tools & Skills

Weather-Resistant Screws
Cut a board into the following parts:

Qty Description Size

1 - Front (A) 9-1/2"W x 16"L
1 - Back (B) 11-1/2"W x 24"L
2 - Sides (C) 8"W x 19-1/2"L
1 - Roof (D) 11-1/2"W x 12"L
1 - Bottom (E) 8"W x 8"L

Layout and the drill the 3" entrance hole in the front (part A). Measure up 12" from the bottom edge, centering the entrance hole across the width of the front section. A hole saw attachment to a drill makes a clean cut, or use a jig saw to rough out the opening.

The sides (part C) are cut on approximately a 30 degree angle to create the slope for attaching the roof. From one edge, measure up 18" and make a mark. From the same end, measure up 16" and make another mark. Using a ruler or straight edge, draw a line to connect the marks. Cut along the line to create an angled side piece. The sides are 1/4" shorter than front (part A). When aligned from the bottom edges and joined together, the shorter sides create a 1/4 gap under the roof line for air circulation.

Cut a 30 degree bevel across the top of the front section (part A), to match the slope of the roof and sides.

Cut each corner of the bottom section (part E) at a 45 degree angle, creating a small drainage gap. Drill four or five additional ¼" holes, spaced evenly in the bottom section for additional drainage. Attach the back and side assembly to the bottom section with nails or screws.

Some Assembly Required


Use weather resistant screws or nails to attach one side (part C) to the front (part A). This is the fixed side, while the other side is hinged to allow access to the finished nest box for periodic cleaning. Attach the bottom (part E) to the sub-assembly.
Cut a 30 degree bevel across the back edge of the roof (part D). The bevel matches the angled sides, and allows the roof to fit snugly against the back (part B). Attach the roof to the back, side and front sections.

Line up the remaining side (part C). To create a hinge, secure the side with one nail or screw driven into each edge -- one through the front (part A) and one through the back (part B) to form a pivot point. Position the hinge screws directly across from each other, enabling the door to open easily. Drill and counter sink a screw hole along the center of the bottom edge. A single short screw will secure the door, yet allow easy access for cleaning.

Drill a 3" hole into the center of the entrance guard (part F). Round off the edges with sandpaper, or use a ¼ round over bit to create a finished edge. Mount the entrance guard on a bias for a visually appealing diamond shape.

Screech Owl Nest Box Plans

Screech Owl Nest Box Plans

Hang the Owl Nesting Box

Add 1" to 2" of pine shavings to the bottom of the finished nesting box. Screech owls do not bring materials into the box to create their nests, and will lay their eggs in the shavings. Do not use saw dust or cedar shavings.

Mount the nesting box between 10' to 30' above the ground. Screech owls are tolerant of human activity, but are known to defend their nests so it's best to place the nesting box in a tree or pole where it can be seen yet is set back from paths and walkways.

Simple Cleat Hanging System

Cleat Hanging System DiagramMake a simple cleat for hanging projects such as this screech owl nest box, birdhouses and window boxes. The cleat is made by ripping a piece of stock at a 45 degree angle.

Start with a piece of wood at least four inches wide, and slight shorter than the width of the feeder. When ripped at a 45 degree bevel, a 4 inch wide piece of stock will yield two mirror image cleats approximately 2 ½" on the wide side.

Tilt the table saw blade to 45 degrees, then set the fence to 2 ½" from the blade to rip the stock into two mirror image pieces, each with a 45 degree bevel cut along one edge.

One piece is attached to the back of the project with the 45 degree angle of the cleat pointing downward and forming an inverted "V" between the back of the feeder and the outside surface of the cleat.

Attach the second piece where you want to hang the feeder, this time with the "V" of the cleat facing upward. Use weather resistant screws, and make sure the cleat is level.
When fitted together, the two 45 degree "V"s from each piece lock together to securely hold the feeder in place.

Adding a filler strip along the bottom edge of the feeder below the cleat on the backside will hold the feeder level upright and plumb. Cut the filler strip to the same thickness as the cleats.




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