General Guidelines for Nest Box Projects

General Guidelines for Nest Box Projects

Starting a bird box program on your property or in your neighborhood is as easy as building a suitable nest box for the desired species and installing it in the proper location. It is really quite simple! However, there are a few guidelines to follow to increase the likelihood of a successful occupation.

• Nest boxes must be built to the proper dimensions for the birds you wish to attract. The entrance hole is of particular importance because it must be large enough to let the target species in, yet small enough to exclude any possible competitors.

• All boxes need some form of protection from predators. A predator guard on the box or metal siding collar on the nest pole is mandatory. (See nest plans for details)

• Always use galvanized nails. They hold up better and last longer.

• Boxes need proper ventilation during times of hot weather. This can be accomplished by drilling several 1/4” holes into the upper portion of the sides of the box. (See nest plans for details)

• Don’t paint or lacquer the insides of the boxes or use pressure treated lumber – the toxic fumes may harm the birds.

• Boxes should be cleaned out after the chicks have fledged or at the end of the season. This encourages birds to nest again and removes any parasites or fungal growth, which can be harmful to the birds.

• Boxes should be placed with entrances facing away from the prevailing direction of winds and storms.

• Boxes should be placed within 15-100 feet of perching sites, such as trees, shrubs, or fences.

• If you wish to paint the outside of your boxes, use light colors that will reflect the sun’s rays. The boxes may overheat with dark colors.

• Nest boxes need to be installed securely. Birds will avoid boxes that swing or sway in the wind.

• Most boxes do not need a perch, which may actually attract pest species such as starlings and house sparrows.

• Beveling the ends on the top and front pieces of wood makes for a tighter fit.