When we put out a nest box we are inviting birds to nest in our yard. We owe them a safe home and enough food.
1.A Safe Home
Nesting birds in our yards are exposed to a danger they do not face in the woods – our windows. Birds do not see windows and crash into them and die- an average of 2-10 deaths per residence each year. On glass surfaces without screens you need to install a system to protect the parents and juveniles from fatal window strikes. A few decals do not work.
There are affordable systems, both commercial and DIY. To see them click on “window strikes” tab above. Ctl/click this url to see what your neighbors are saying about bird safety systems. https://youtu.be/fZS5QVSJkCw
- Safety from predators - Your nest box must have a predator guard to stop snakes etc. from eating the eggs and the chicks. Excellent predator advice from Cornell Bird Lab is at https://nestwatch.org/learn/all-about-birdhouses/dealing-with-predators/
Affordable predator guards are available at Wild Birds, Tractor Supply and on the web.
- Enough Food – Nestlings need to eat 8,000 insects before they leave the nest. They do not eat seeds or pollen. Those insects are found primarily on trees and shrubs which have always grown here (native). The most important food source in your yard is a large deciduous tree – like an oak. Imported trees, like Bartlett Pears, provide very little food. Maintain and feed your oak tree. If you are worried about root damage ctrl/click on this url Root Barrier Installation Sun City Unfortunately, meal worms which are an African worm, lack essential nutrients present in native insects.
Nest Box Monitoring Program
Since 2005 the Bird Club has worked with the Sun City Community Association to install, maintain and monitor over 200 nest boxes on the community property and the three golf courses. In 2019 these boxes held over 100 nests and produced more than 400 fledglings. This program relies solely on volunteer help. Monitors clean out the boxes before nesting season and visit the boxes once a week from March through July to track use and production, and report their data once, at the end of the season. The boxes are important because they provide nest sites to birds that require tree cavities, but are unable to excavate their own.
Bluebird Nest Box Monitoring Guide a guide to monitoring bluebird nest boxes.