Home Services: The ins & outs of building bird nesting boxes - petsitterbank

Home Services: The ins & outs of building bird nesting boxes

Special to The Tribune

AUBURN UNIVERSITY — The population of North American birds has dropped nearly 30 percent since 1970. Development of rural and woodland areas has made bird habitats a scarce resource. Building nesting boxes for local birds is a great way to provide shelter for the local backyard birds everyone loves.

“Birds are a part of our lives, filling the air with song and inspiring us with their beauty,” said Roosevelt Robinsonan Alabama Cooperative Extension System regional agent.

There are many pros for a homeowner thinking about building nesting boxes. Encouraging birds to visit a backyard can help reduce—or even remove—the need to use chemicals to control unwanted pests like aphids, beetles, earwigs, mosquitoes, moths and others.

Having birds visit nesting boxes will also provide endless fun with the unique opportunity to watch the birds play and prepare their nests.

What’s happening to our birds?

The Brown-Headed Nuthatch, Carolina Chickadee, Carolina Wren, Eastern Bluebird and Tufted Titmouse are just a few beloved birds that are losing habitat due to no fault of their own.

“Songbirds play a major role in maintaining the health and stability of forested ecosystems by dispersing seeds, pollinating flowers, and consuming massive amounts of insects that if left unchecked could lead to defoliating outbreaks,” Robinson said.

Robinson said causes for the decline are imperfectly understood, but scientists are seeing it as a perfect storm of multiple causes. Everything—including commercial, industrial and residential developments—make a perfect storm for habitat loss.

Building Bird Nesting Boxes

The best nest box building materials are inexpensive. Suitable wood scraps can be found anywhere from construction sites and lumber companies. Discarded pallets are a good source of wood as well as any “blemished” wood, which wood is deemed unsuitable by a company.

“Any grade of untreated lumber is suitable to build nest boxes,” Robinson said.

When building nesting boxes, use untreated, unpainted wood to construct these boxes as they most closely resemble what birds would have used before the introduction of man-made nest boxes.

Different types of birds have different nesting requirements. Boxes can range in shape and size depending on the bird. Making the entrance hole smaller for some houses may protect smaller birds and keep out competitive birds.

For more information

For specific information on building birdhouses for different bird types, see ANR-0550 Bird Houses for Songbirds.

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