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             23 November, 2020
 

    
Category:  Articles » Travel & Leisure » Outdoors

 

Provide a Nesting Box for Birds

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2006-06-28 20:50:26     
Article by Rosemary Drisdelle

It's a simple matter to hang a bird house in a tree, but if you're really interested in having birds move in, you'll need to give some thought to proper nesting box design. Every species of bird has specific nesting requirements: if the nest box you provide doesn't suit the tastes of the local birds, you won't get tenants.

A careful bird house design takes into account the appropriate base dimensions, the proper height, the size and placement of the entrance hole, and even the outside appearance of the box. For example, if you have Nuthatches on your property and visiting your feeders, and you would like to provide them with a good nesting box, build a box 10 cm square (4 x 4 in) and 25.5 cm tall (10 in). Cut a 3cm (1.25 in) hole 19 cm (7.5 in) from the base, and leave the outside of the box a natural wood colour or cover it with tree bark. Your approach for Purple Martins will be quite different: they nest in groups, so you'll need multiple 15.25 cm (6 in) cubes, each with a 6.3 cm (2.5in) round hole 5.75 cm (2.25) above the base, and painted white.

A variety of birds will use a bird house if you use the nesting box plan that is right for them, but some birds won't use a nesting box no matter what bird house design you come up with. Birds that you can expect to attract, provided they're present in your location and you have the right features, include Chickadees and Nuthatches, Eastern Bluebirds, Purple Martins, Downy and Red-headed Woodpeckers, Tree Swallows, House Wrens, Northern Flickers, and Wood Ducks. Robins will nest if you provide a shelf, and Barn Owls may come to an open barn with a wide dry shelf high in the beams.

Placing the nesting box is important too: the right bird house design in the wrong place might attract the wrong bird, or no bird at all. Bluebirds prefer the edges of fields; Wood Ducks want to be very close to the water; a nesting box plan for House Wrens may suggest hanging the box from a tree branch. You'll need to do some research on the specific bird you are trying to attract in order to find out where to place the box. It might be best in a thicket of trees or very high off the ground. Perhaps it should be facing an open space, or facing South. Every bird is different.

The internet is a fertile place to search for information about bird's nesting habits; you will probably find a simple nesting box plan for your favourite bird there as well. Have your nesting boxes hung by February, so they're ready for the first of the nesting birds. And buy a pair of binoculars.

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