Main Breeding Season
Gerald (right) and Gertrude (left) Getting Ready For Nesting
From the research we have done, this is the information we found regarding breeding season for Barn Owls:
These are only averages, however, and can vary in different places. In late winter, the couple will start their breeding cycle and their breeding season is typically said to be from March to August. Younger female owls tend to lay later in the year and those later clutches are typically in July. However, there are females that lay earlier in the year and the belief is that they have a good food supply and are likely to be older, more mature females. Sometimes, a couple will brood twice in one year or in rare cases, even three times.
The couple will start spending more of their time at the intended nest spot. Mutual preening and cheek rubbing are a part of their bonding and courtship. As time goes by the male will do more and more of the hunting and the female will start to spend more time at the nest site. Her weight will increase as she prepares the nest for laying her eggs. The male will often be present at the nest site for a couple of weeks prior to egg laying and breeding occurs almost every time he comes to the nest box, usually bringing with him some food.
In California, it can be even earlier in the year. We have observed our owls spending more time around our box toward the middle of November and by mid-December, our female was spending much more time in the box. By December 15th, she had started to stay part-time in the box during the day. She would stay one to two days during the day, then leave for a day. Our male does not stay during the day. He only comes to the box at night.
About a couple of weeks before laying the eggs, our female seems like she has started what we humans would say is, “nesting”. She cleans and preps the nest box for the eggs. She even cleans the sides of the box to make sure it is in proper condition for her young. We had our first egg laid in early January of this year and the first hatch in early February.