A nestbox is a great asset for a garden. Natural materials are ideal. And no perches, please: they allow invaders to reach the eggs or the young. Place the nestbox well above the reach of predators. Birds - like this Black-capped Chickadee - don't want to draw attention to their nests, so the less conspicuous, the better. Learn how to build your own nestbox. Or buy one from the Audubon Online Nature Shop. BirdNote is in the news! Read the story.
The Natural Nestbox
Adapted from a script by Frances Wood
This is BirdNote!
[A medley of Red-breasted Nuthatch call, Black-capped Chickadee song and call of the Chestnut-backed Chickadee] We’ve talked about setting out birdhouses, also called nestboxes, to attract native species. Here are a few more suggestions to attract chickadees, nuthatches, and wrens. They’re all “cavity-nesters,” birds that need a cavity in a tree—or a birdhouse that serves the same purpose—for nesting.
Look for a nestbox that’s plain wood, none of that fancy stuff. Birds prefer their nest sites to be as inconspicuous as possible. If the birdhouse comes with a cute little dowel perch, remove it. The nesting birds don’t need the perch. And it just makes it easier for a predator bird to land and go after the eggs or young. Now hang or place the nestbox well out of reach of any predators.
When it’s time to fledge, many young songbirds leave the nestbox gradually over a few days. They poke their heads out, and stretch their wings during the day. Then they tuck back in at night. Make sure your nestbox has a rough interior. That way the young birds can climb up, venture out, and return, all part of their natural fledging process.
We’ll help you find nestboxes just right for the birds you’d like to attract. Come to our website, BirdNote.org. Come soon, it’s time to put them up. I’m Michael Stein.
Calls and songs of the birds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Black-capped Chickadee song, Chestnut-backed Chickadee call, and Red-breasted Nuthatch call recorded by G.A. Keller.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2009 Tune In to Nature.org Revised for May 2009