In 2021, our agency and coordinating partners monitored 110 barn owl nest boxes and found evidence of 19 nests from the 2020 season. There were 23 total known nests in 21 townships in Ohio in 2020. Because of numbers remaining below population goals, the barn owl maintains its threatened status and we continue to monitor their populations.
Right now, the 2022 monitoring season is underway! Volunteers had until March 31 to check for nesting activity from last year, as well as clean out and maintain those boxes. Further monitoring will continue throughout the spring and summer.
Barn owls readily nest in hollow trees and man-made structures such as barns, church steeples, and abandoned houses. Barn owls rely on grasslands to forage for a variety of small mammals that may otherwise be a nuisance for people. In Ohio, barn owl numbers have declined in recent decades because of changes in agricultural practices and land use and efforts are ongoing to better understand the population of this elusive raptor. Since 2013, nest box monitoring has occurred with the goal of observing an average of 100 active nests sustained for at least three years.