[Tweeters] A Cautionary Tale on Nest Boxes

ck park travelgirl.fics at gmail.com
Sun Apr 13 11:33:37 PDT 2014

this message was originally posted to inlandcountybirds (southern
california). re-posted here with author's permission:

1 Prado Basin update, and a cautionary tale on nest-boxes
Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:42 am (PDT) . Posted by: "jpike44" vireos44
<jpike44 at earthlink.net?subject=Re%3A%20Prado%20Basin%20update%2C%20and%20a%20cautionary%20tale%20on%20nest-boxes>

<snip two prado basin paragraphs of local bird sightings>

Lastly, a RIV CO group, wanting to replicate the Prado Basin Tree Swallow
nest-box program, had a volunteer build 30 nest-boxes that were then placed
around some ponds. Unfortunately, the boxes weren't constructed to-plan,
with the absence of doors being a notable oversight. My offer to replace
the boxes that appeared to already be occupied by swallows with our surplus
boxes was accepted, and I began knocking the roofs off the boxes a couple
weeks ago. On completion, I had found no nest-initiation, but instead found
twenty dead adult swallows (with some boxes housing two to three dead
birds), and three live swallows. An examination revealed that a
lower-than-normal floor (below the bottom of the walls, rather than within
them) contributed to an entrance-hole that was 1.5 - 2 inches higher than
boxes used in the Basin. That greater depth, combined with the slick inner
surfaces of never-been-used boxes, created a trap from which the
weak-legged swallows couldn't escape. A nest-box will never seem quite so
simple a device to me again.

Jim Pike
Prado Basin/HB


00 caren
george davis creek, north fork
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