You have probably noticed a lot of bird activity taking place in your backyard already.
Listen and you will here the birds have begun their mating calls. You may also see them checking out the nest boxes, so it won’t be long until baby bird season is in full action! You can help protect them by making sure you have nest boxes available with baffles to protect them from snakes and raccoons. Did you know…if birds choose a birdhouse that is on a tree, post or a pole without a baffle, there is only about a 30% survival rate. Do them a great favor and mount their home on a pole with a baffle.
Below are some additional tips on successful nest boxes
- Select good habitat. Open area with low or sparse ground cover and scattered trees is best.
- Avoid brushy and heavily wooded areas. These habitats are far more suitable for house wrens, which will probably dominate existing nest boxes.
- Avoid areas where house sparrows are abundant. House sparrows will kill bluebirds and destroy eggs and young.
- Avoid areas of pesticide use.
- Face boxes toward open areas in any direction. Ideally, the entrance hole should face away from prevailing winds. A tree or suitable perch 40 to 100 feet from the box provides a perfect rest stop for young on their first flight.
- Keep boxes at least 100 yards apart. This allows the bluebirds to establish a territory around the nest box.
- Protect boxes against predators. Do not place boxes on trees. Snakes, raccoons, house cats, and other predators can quickly reduce the baby bird numbers. Repeated nest box raids often cause abandonment of the box. Visit Backyard Birds to see the types of baffles that work best to prevent losses.
- Monitor the boxes. Check them once a week during the nesting season to record progress of the nestlings and to control house sparrows.
- Always remove house sparrow nests immediately when found. To encourage second or third broods, remove bluebird and other nests as soon as young birds fledge from the nest box.
- Keep a journal. Record the date, species using the box, number of nestlings, number of young fledged, and any other interesting observations.
- Share your results. Be sure to share your results on our Facebook page. Relatives, friends, and neighbors are often delighted to hear about your results, too. You may interest someone else in bird watching!
If you haven’t already, be sure to do a little spring cleaning of those old boxes before spring arrives, then sit back and enjoy watching your avian friends all season.