Nest Box Project
Join us in helping our native cavity-nesting birds thrive!
At Streamline Planning Consultants we believe it’s important to encourage our local native bird population. That is why we are inviting you to join our “Nest Box Project.” Our expert team has developed this program to help native cavity-nesting birds who have lost their home as a result of damage to their natural habitat & competition with non-native species.
By building and installing bird boxes in strategic locations, educating the public on the need, and teaching people how to build, install and maintain the boxes, we can help our local cavity-nesters thrive!
- Dead trees that contained holes have been largely removed by home-builders, developers and agriculture operators over the past century.
- Wooden fence posts that provided cavities have been replaced by metal posts.
- Different but equally devastating problems include the introduction of European starlings, English sparrows, house cats and feral cats.
Some major causes of the decline are:
Creating New & Safe Homes
Following the guidelines on this page you can learn to install and maintain your very own nest box!
Experience the thrill of actively participating in the recovery of a species as you monitor your feathered tenants. Then, sit back and enjoy watching cavity-nesting birds grow up in your back yard.
Different birds need different size boxes and they need to be placed in strategic locations in order to ensure the proper species will utilize them. We will explain both and provide additional resources for you to explore online.
Using an approved North American Bluebird Society (NABS) nest box design will ensure the maximum chance local native birds will call your box home.
Building Tips & Tricks
- Use untreated, unpainted wood, preferably cedar, pine, cypress, or for larger boxes (owls) nonpressure-treated CDX exterior grade plywood.
- Make sure the wood is rough cut so the birds have something to hold on to when entering and exiting
- Perches are unnecessary for the birds and can allow predators to gain access
- Sloped roof will help the rain to run off and also help keep predators out of the box
- Use a predator-proof mounting pole or install a predator guard around tall posts or telephone poles
- Add drainage holes on the corners of the floor to allow water to drain out of the nest
Choosing the CORRECT HABITAT
To ensure maximum success know their habitat and install your box where you see the target species.
Violet green or tree swallows: Locate your box near a stream, pond or other flying insect-ridden site is ideal. Nearby power lines are a plus for perching. Somewhat rural areas in open fields are good.
American Kestrels & Bluebirds: Open, rural country with sparse vegetation and low grass, with perches like fences and single posts are ideal.Mowed areas such as golf courses, pasture-land, parks and cemeteries with low human traffic are good.
Chickadee: Around trees.
Wood Ducks & Hooded mergansers: Along creeks and ponds.
Owls: They prefer their nest attached to live trees in coniferous forests near a water source.
Keep in mind that each bird species has different preferences and it’s important to know the details of each before installing a box.
Keeping Predators at Bay
Although nest boxes provide nesting opportunities for many native birds, they also can make easy targets for predators. Common predators include raccoons, cats, snakes, and squirrels.
We recommend you install your bird box with free-standingmetal poles or PVC pipes.
The pole method offers several advantages:
- Nest boxes can be mounted higher
- Some predators find poles difficult to climb
- Poles can be easily equipped with predator guards
Maintenance & Monitoring
If you put up a nest box, please be a responsible landlord.
Nest boxes should be monitored and maintained on a regular basis. Unmonitored nest boxes can easily become home to House Sparrows or European Starlings, two introduced species that aggressively compete with native birds, destroying eggs and chicks and sometimes killing adult swallows, bluebirds, and other vulnerable birds.
Please also be sensitive to the particular species when you monitor. Some birds will abandon the nest if they feel threatened.
- Check on the progress and health of nests and nestlings
- Record observational data
- Remove house sparrows before they reproduce
- Watch for signs of vandalism, parasite infestation and predation
- Send data to state and national organizations