Supplying a nestbox/birdhouse will attract birds into the yard and will encourage the winter birds to stay and it even helps the species that are struggling to find a suitable nesting site.
Commercially Purchased Nestboxes
Always keep in mind that most commercially made nestboxes are for decoration only and are made in a variety of dimensions which may never be used. If purchasing a nestbox, make sure that it can be cleaned out and ask the salesperson some questions such as "What type of bird may I expect to attract" and "where should the nestbox be placed". If these questions cannot be answered, don't buy it. Remember, the way the birdhouse looks on the outside means nothing to birds; it's the inside that matters. Therefore, the simpler the design, the better and remember that building a nestbox does not require a carpenter or any special skills.
Do's and Don'ts
|DO||Build a nestbox for a specific kind of bird|
|DO||Place nestbox where they cannot be molested by cats|
|DO||Clean nestboxes thoroughly after the birds leave the nest|
|DO||Make the entrance hole to specification. This is the most critical dimension of any nestbox|
|DO||The area below the entrance hole should be a little bit rough so that the birds can get a grip when climbing in/out|
|DO||Make ventilation holes on the top side walls|
|DO||Make a hole on the floor for drainage|
|DO||At least one piece of any birdhouse should be hinged for easy cleaning. A roof that uses removeable screws can also be used|
|DON'T||Use tin or metals for nestboxes. Always use wood|
|DON'T||Never let a nestbox swing. Firmly attach to a tree, a post or on the side of a building|
|DON'T||Never put a perch in front of the entrance hole, it will attract other birds such as house sparrows to sit. The occupants inside will be tormented|
|DON'T||Never paint the inside of any nestbox except for Purple Martin Houses since they prefer direct sunlight and a coat of white paint will reflect the heat|
Nestbox Data Cards
Anyone monitoring nestboxes, should keep some kind of record by using Nestbox Data Cards. This information can then be entered into a database for handy reference and cross-referencing of information. If you find anything particularly interesting about the occupants of the nestbox, jot it down in the comments section of the data card.
About the Nestbox Table
Nestboxes and/or birdhouses are usually in three (3) varieties, Basic Shelf, Enclosed Box and Large Condominium-Style Birdhouses. The Nestbox Table will give you basic dimensions, height above ground, entrance dimensions, etc. for building a basic shelf or an enclosed shelf. If a species uses the basic shelf design, it is noted in the "Notes" column. Use the "Preferred Habitat" column for reference on where to place the nestbox.
Nestbox Building DiagramsEnclosed Nestbox