Boxing Owls

The Portneuf Soil & Water Conservation District has owl boxes for sale at cost. They come complete with mounting pole.
Catie Clark

The Portneuf Soil & Water Conservation District out of Pocatello has owl boxes for sale at cost. The boxes attract barn owls who build nests in them. When barn owls nest next to farm fields, they are effective at removing gophers and voles which can destroy crops.
The nest boxes cost $159 apiece for two or more or $179 for one. "The price covers the materials and the labor to build the box," Cali Johnson of the conservation district said. "A steel mounting pole is also included."
The conservation district encourages the installation of owl boxes as a environmentally-friendly way to control rodents. A pair of nesting barn owls will provide gopher and vole removal for 40 acres. They need 3,000 rodents a year for their diet.
"It's super-time consuming to poison and remove gophers and voles from fields," Johnson explained. "Owl boxes help the land owner, they are economic, and they help the owls."
In southern Idaho, barn owls often become victims to cars along the interstate highways. Thousands are killed every year. There are concerns that this may hurt the population of this beneficial bird.
Conservation efforts to preserve the barn owl include the creation of continuous hedgerows or trees along roads which are at or above grade. Owl boxes are another effective conservation measure. The boxes provide a space similar to other preferred nesting spots like granary roofs, building ledges, barns and church steeples.