Bird Boxing

It’s a little late in the year for this, but I just found this book. It’s a very good place to start if you want to set up and maintain — stress on the maintain — bird homes for the next breeding season and the ones after that.

Habitat, siting, building, monitoring, maintaining are all covered here. Those cute little bird houses sold in garden stores and the like? Usually useless.

Thompson reminds us that the vast majority of bird species in North America are NOT cavity nesters, but those that are are quite spectacular: Tree and Violet Green swallows, Purple Martins, Chickadees, Titmice, Nuthatches, House/Carolina/Bewick’s wrens, Wood Ducks, all three species of blue bird, Great Crested and Ash-throated flycatchers, Screech Owls, and… American Kestrels! All of them could use the extra help. Thompson stresses that you MUST baffle to keep mammal and reptilian predators at bay. And that making a commitment for certain species means you have to be aggressive about House Sparrows and Starlings; these two invasive species will take over nest boxes unless you, as the “nest box landlord,” keep them out. (Note that wrens can be aggressive too, destroying other species eggs in nest sites they favor.)

The book also includes plans for a simple shelf set-up for Barn Swallows, Phoebes, and American Robins. Another book Thompson has written details the ins and outs of feeding birds. Baffles and commitment, you won’t be surprised to learn, also come into play when it comes to feeding. (When I see bird feeders in the city, I usually think of the rats getting fat on the seed.)

More bird nest information can be found here, with detailed regional needs.

1 Response to “Bird Boxing”

  1. 1 shutterbug May 4, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Perfect timing for this as I was just dreaming up some spring projects. Thanks for the recommendation.

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