Make Sure Your Nestboxes are Ready for Spring

This box is for Bluebirds but we don't have the right situation for them so I use a hole restrictor to keep out House Sparrows and allow Chickadees to use it.

This box is for Bluebirds but we don’t have the right situation for them so I use a hole restrictor to keep out House Sparrows and allow Chickadees to use it. You just screw it over the hole to reduce the size.

I was checking my nest boxes yesterday, doing a little last-minute cleaning up in preparation for spring.  The birds are beginning to sing and some are pairing up so it can’t be long until they begin house hunting.  As I checked the box on the pine tree, used for the past few years by chickadees, it came off in my hand.  The back had been eaten out by carpenter ants.  I had a new box in waiting and we changed over the metal hole restrictor to that new one and replaced the box on the tree.  It’s important to use the right sized hole restrictor for the birds for whom you are hoping to be landlord.  Although the chickadees nest in a bluebird box, the hole is too big and house sparrows can get in and kill the entire family.  Bluebirds need a 1  1/2″ opening and chickadees a 1  1/8″ opening.  It may not seem like much but it makes a difference in their nesting success.  These copper hole restrictors are available on-line or at many nature centers for just a couple of dollars.  A wire mesh platform in the bottom of the box helps protect the young from blowflies.

The wire mesh in the bottom helps keep the young safe from blowflies

The wire mesh in the bottom helps keep the young safe from blowflies

With all this help it's a wonder the job ever got done!

With all this help it’s a wonder the job ever got done!

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