Nesting Boxes

Nesting Boxes 2017-09-12T17:47:20+00:00


  • When putting the finishing touches on your nesting box, DO NOT paint the box and DO NOT add perches. Most cavity-nesting birds prefer weathered, natural wood, and birds themselves won’t perch at the entrance to their box. Brightly painted boxes may attract predators and perches make it easier for predators to climb inside the box.
  • It is important to add grooves or notches on the inside of the box below the entrance. DO NOT sand or smooth the wood inside the box. A rough surface makes it easier for baby birds to climb out of the box when they are ready to do so. (Link to more information: http://www.sialis.org/kerfs.htm)
  • Tips on nesting box placement
    • Most cavity-nesting birds will start looking for a home in early spring, so it is important to have the boxes ready for them well before they arrive from their migrations. It is easiest to install new nest boxes in the fall, and the boxes can be left up year-round.
    • Nest boxes should be placed on poles well away from trees and shrubs, to prevent squirrels from jumping onto the roof of the nest box.
    • Assure that the bird has a clear flight path to the entrance of the nest box, free of potential obstructions
    • Many species of bird are territorial, so having too many nest boxes in one area can cause problems. If you are installing several nest boxes, leave a few metres of distance between each box and its neighbour.
    • Avoid placing nest boxes in areas where herbicide or pesticide is used
    • A predator guard can be used on the pole holding the nest box, as some predators find it difficult to climb up the pole when a predator guard is present.
    • How to clean and care for nesting boxes
      • Most cavity-nesting birds won’t reuse their nests year after year. Once a nest box is no longer in use (i.e. in the fall), it is important to clean the old nesting material out of the box so a new nest can be made in the spring. If your box has a hinged wall or roof, you can open the box and remove the nest easily.
      • Nests can accumulate fleas and other parasites, which can remain in the nest box and potentially affect young birds that hatch in the nest box the following year. Once the nest is removed, you can clean the box with a scrub brush and either boiling water or a mild bleach solution to kill any parasites or fleas. Insecticides and flea powders should not be used, as they could harm the birds.