Date of Graduation

Summer 2017


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Janice Greene


barn owl, great horned owl, southwestern Missouri, nesting biology, nesting success, nest boxes, pellets

Subject Categories

Behavior and Ethology | Ornithology | Population Biology | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology


The Barn Owl (Tyto alba) is a medium-sized owl belonging to the family Tytonidae. They raise young within natural cavities and on hard surfaces including nest boxes. The nesting success of Barn Owls, using wooden nest boxes, was studied in southwestern Missouri in 2016. Data were collected on clutch and brood sizes, the numbers of young fledged, and the species and amount of prey found in their regurgitated pellets. Interaction between Barn Owls and Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus) was also observed and documented. Nest box occupancy was 30% which is lower than in other studies, however this study included a relatively low sample size. Eggs laid in the Barn Owl boxes were mostly successful, with only two hatchlings not surviving long enough to fledge. Prey types were similar across both species of owl. Non-occupied nest boxes may be a result of a low population in southwest Missouri, unsuitable habitat surrounding the nest box, or because of poor nest box placement.


© Robert Grant Dickerson

Open Access