Now is the time to set out nest boxes

With the loss of habitat and the use of pesticides many songbirds are experiencing declining numbers. People can help them by setting out nest boxes in their backyards. The two most common and popular backyard birds that will occupy nest boxes in this area are the black capped chickadees and house wrens. Both are delightful songsters to have in your yard.

Here are some suggestions to have them take up residence in your nest boxes:

1. Your yard needs trees and shrubs to attract birds and for safety and shelter for them.

2. The floor of the bird home should be four to five inches per side.

3. The hole size is critical: A entry hole that is too large allows predators to enter the home.

For chickadees and wrens the entry hole should be 1 ⅛ to 1 ¼ inches. Be sure to have no perch on the outside.

4. Place the nest box in or near your trees and shrubs. Chickadees like a nest box that is in the sunlight about 40-60% of the day.

5. It should be hung about five to 10 feet above the ground. Be sure that cats cannot access the birdhouse.

6. The hole should face away from the prevailing wind.

7. Chickadees are excavators. If you put a couple of inches of wood shavings (not treated) in the home, you may be more successful in attracting them to it.

8. If you have a nest box already in place, it is necessary to clean out the old debris and nest.

The chickadees are already starting to nest and the wrens will be doing so in the next few weeks.

Thank you for helping the environment and our feathered friends. If you need more information, please call me at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre, telephone 403-346-2010.

Bob Kruchten

Friends of the Kerry Wood Nature Centre

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