Owl Box Orientation

The correct orientation of an owl box is always a topic for discussion. It has been said that the box must face south, north, east or west from an “authority” on the topic.

Alongside is a graph indicating preference percentages for 60 occupied owl boxes. The graph indicates a strong North (45%) or South (36%) preference. West and East facing boxes appear to be less attractive to owls. We use the word ''appear'' because we are not sure if there aren't numerous variables and biases that contribute to this graph that has nothing to do with an orientation preference.

The majority of houses in the Southern Hemisphere are North facing in order to maximise winter sun and summer shade. When EcoSolutions installs an owl box, we generally face the box towards the home of the client in order for them to see into and monitor the box for occupancy.  As a result, these boxes would have a South orientation. In many gardens with North orientated homes, we often place the owl box in the more secluded “back” garden. This would result in the owl house having a North orientation. We very seldom place boxes with the entrance of the box facing away from the house i.e East or West. This may account for the lower occupancy percentage as indicated on the graph. As a consequence of this installation bias, it is almost impossible at this stage to categorically say that there is an orientation preference.

Establishing an orientation preference is still an ongoing undertaking and we are adding data relating to orientation on completion of each owl box service.

 


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