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Why you want barn owl buddies

Tired of voles gnawing on your fruit trees, gophers snatching your vegetation from below, or rats scuttling up your downspouts? 

Invite a couple of barn owls over and they’ll gobble up the vermin at a rate of 2,000 a year.

The universal party invite they all recognize is a nest box. “Barn owls are incredibly widespread in America, so when you put up your nest box, you’ll start seeing barn owls take roost in them in short order, and then they’ll start going to work for you,” said Tom Stephan, master falconer, raptor expert, and owner of Barn Owl Boxes in Ramona. “Using natural predators is more effective than conventional trapping or poisons, it’s economical, eco-friendly, and protects local wildlife,” he added.

AirTom and his team of craftsmen hand make every owl box out of Mahogany plywood panels made from recycled materials. For as little as $350 installed, you can get the party started with a basic owl box.

And buying a box is a one-time investment, as they cost nothing to maintain and the owls are very good at keeping their nest boxes clean.

If you have more to spend, the Hoo’s Hoo box with installed camera is one of their best sellers. Just connect the camera to your TV or computer and enjoy the best reality show you’ll ever watch. In fact, Tom installed “Molly’s Box” in a yard in San Marcos and it’s live-streamed footage became an Internet phenomenon.

Tom’s lifelong passion for birds of prey began in 1962 while doing research for a wild animal report in second grade.

This led to much climbing of trees to better observe birds, which led to a career as a tree trimmer (and later a certified arborist.) While bidding a job, he noticed an improperly hung owl box in a potential client’s yard.

He offered to install it at the proper height and angle needed to attract owls, and three days later the lady was thrilled to report that a pair of barn owls had begun nesting in it.

“This was the first owl nest box I installed.” said Tom. “Now, nearly 25 years later I have over 36,000 under my belt. I’m so grateful that my passionate hobby has led me to such a fulfilling career. I spend my days sharing my enthusiasm and knowledge of nature and its inhabitants with people around the world. This is my definition of success.”

Learn more at or call (760) 445-2023.

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