YuKonstruct and Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Trust‘s November Make it Wild Workshop was about making bird boxes for Yukon’s small cavity nesting birds–swallows, bluebirds and chickadees. The participants learned about local bird populations, tips to avoid squirrels, and how to pick a good spot to mount a bird box. Most of our participants were new to both YuKonstruct and the birding community – thanks for coming out!
This workshop was very popular and was sold out almost immediately. Because there was so much interest, we are providing Marty’s bird box plans here so that you can come into YuKonstruct and make one yourself!
Thanks to our biologist presenters and instructors for this excellent workshop: Katie Aitken and Marty Mossop!
- Find a hollow log or one that’s rotten in the middle.
- Cut about a 1 foot section. One end should be angled a bit, so that the roof will shed water.
- Hollow out the entire log. A hammer and chisel (or even a big screwdriver) works well. An auger drill bit is best if the wood is hard. The diameter of the inside should be at least 10cm (4”) for chickadees, 13cm (5”) for swallows and bluebirds.
- Drill the entrance hole with a hole saw. It should be about an inch below the top of the log. The diameter of the hole needs to match the size of bird (big enough for the bird to get in/out but not big enough for predators to gain access). Range is 1-3/8” for chickadees, 1-3/8” to 1-1/2” for swallows, and 1-1/2” to 1-9/16” for bluebirds.
- Nail/screw on a plywood top and bottom, to cover the open ends of the log. Screws allow the roof to be easily removed for cleaning etc. (although cleaning isn’t necessary).
- Fill the bottom of the box with an inch or two of woodchips/sawdust. The birds will bring in any other nest material that they need. There should be several inches between the entrance hole and the top of the sawdust.
- If desired, put wire mesh (1/2″ hardware cloth) or metal plating around the entrance hole to stop squirrels from making it bigger
- Nail/screw a piece of lumber, a bit longer than the log, to the back for attaching to a tree, post, wall, etc.
- It’s best to mount the box on a metal pole so that predators such as cats/squirrels/chipmunks/mice can’t get to it. Another option would be the side of a building that has smooth siding that a predator can’t climb. Avoid larger trees and fence posts as those are easy for predators to climb.
- If you have outdoor cats, please consider not putting out a box (or a bird feeder).
Nest box plans (also have information on avoiding predators, box placement, etc.):
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s NestWatch Project (http://nestwatch.org/learn/all-about-birdhouses/)
- Nestbox Builder (www.nestboxbuilder.com)
- Sialis (www.sialis.org) (focus is on bluebirds but they have info on other species as well)
Nest box monitoring/reporting: