Thursday, June 17, 2010

Build your own: Nests for wood ducks, mallards, bluebirds, and bats

Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District reminds you; “Build it, and they will come.” That’s not true of nests you could build for many species of wildlife, but there are a few species that have proven they will take up temporary occupancy if you follow their rules of habitat.
Those species include bluebirds, bats, wood ducks, mallards, and Canada geese.
There are very specific rules to follow in both building and placing artificial nests, if you want to be successful over time in attracting specific birds. We have plans in our office free of charge. Ohio Department of Natural Resources offers free plans on the Internet, as well, and there are books with detailed plans and instruction on location of specific nests. Of course, these nesting boxes can also be purchased from our office.
The world wide web has a wealth of helpful information on nesting structures: you can quickly get very good information from an Internet search with key words such as “bluebird boxes”, “mallard nests”, or “bat houses”.

Some thoughts to get you started:
1. Know where you’ll put the nest. Read about other biological needs of your intended species, such as food and cover needs of young. For instance, the mallard hen and ducklings leave the nest together within 12 hours of hatching to look for nearby wetlands with emergent plants for cover and aquatic insects to eat.
2. Follow specific construction plans. Size of box, materials, size of the opening and other details are critical. For instance, if the precise opening sized for Bluebird boxes isn’t used, competitor birds will likely be more of a problem.
3. Think about aesthetics.  Curved shapes and earth tones blend into the outdoors better than sharp angles and glossy paint.
4. Plan now for maintenance.  Lack of maintenance is the number one cause of failure for most nest structures. For instance, waterfowl don’t carry nest material to their sites, so you have to do that for them. Be sure to clean out Bluebird boxes after each use.
5. Have some patience. Don’t get discouraged if your nest isn’t used immediately. Where birds aren’t used to nest structures, it could be several years before they try them. Once they do, they and their offspring are likely to return year after year.

No comments:

Post a Comment