Let’s talk nest boxes

It’s late fall, when a young naturalist’s thoughts ought to turn (at least momentarily) to nest box building. Boxes for Wood Ducks and the cavity-nesting owls should be up by early January. We bought our materials about this time last year for a box building bonanza on Christmas Eve.

A Wood Duck box and a Downy/Hairy Woodpecker box that we built.

Our neighbors were intrigued enough about our Wood Duck box (now an Eastern Screech-Owl box!) that I thought I’d share the Ducks Unlimited nest box plan that we used. It worked really well.

A Wood Duck nest box that uses a section of stove pipe as a predator baffle. It seems to have worked. Of all of our trail cam video of raccoons near it, none of the videos captured the raccoons or any other predator entering the box.

For my neighbors, I’m extending the offer to help you build or put up a box if I can get the free time. Some things, such as the drill bit for the entry hole, are better borrowed as they’re a little expensive to purchase for a one-time use. The obvious solution is to BUILD MORE BOXES (of course!). I also have a small supply of bailing wire if you need that 18-20″ of it to put up the predator baffle.

Are you going to save the world with a nest box? No. Neither Wood Ducks nor Eastern Screech-Owls are in any serious danger as species. A nest box, though, is  a great way to bring some very interesting animals within a convenient observation range. It just takes some precautions to avoid exposing them to predators, too. Kids can also find these very intriguing, and they’re great helpers for the annual box-cleaning that’s required. What a great way to spend an hour with the grandkids while separating them from all their electronic distractions!