OSU offers guide on building wild bird nest boxes

Last Updated: 
August 4, 2008


Red-breasted nuthatch by Dave Menke, US Fish and Wildlife
CORVALLIS - Woodpeckers, wood ducks, swallows, bluebirds and barn owls are among the 45 species of cavity nesting birds in Oregon. But most people in suburban and urban areas consider dying or dead trees (snags) where these birds nest to be safety hazards or eyesores. So nesting habitat for these birds is scarce.

If you have some dead trees on your property you can make them safe for people while saving them for the birds. But if you have no snags at all, you can help replace the loss of natural cavities by adding nest boxes to your yard, suggests Nancy Allen, wildlife biologist with the Oregon State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.

The bird houses for sale at stores and garden centers are often expensive or they may not be the right kind for the species of cavity nesters found in your area.

By building your own nest boxes for birds, you can be sure you have the right dimensions and other features important for the species near you.

The OSU Extension Service offers a seven-page guide with building instructions, placement recommendations and nest box dimensions for about 18 species of cavity nesting birds including the American kestrel, barn owl, black-capped and chestnut-backed chickadees, downy and hairy woodpeckers, house wren, the northern saw-whet owl and the tree and violet-green swallow.

"Build Nest Boxes for Wild Birds," (EC 1556) can be downloaded from the Web at: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/pdf/EC/EC1556.pdf

Or printed copies are available by mail for $1.50 per copy plus $3 shipping and handling. Send a request and check or money order payable to OSU: Publication Orders, Extension and Experiment Station Communications, 422 Kerr Administration Bldg., OSU, Corvallis, OR 97331-2119.

Author: Carol Savonen
Source: Nancy Allen