Nov 30, 2015 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, December 2015

It's Always a Good Time for a Nest Box!

Nest boxes provide shelter in the dead of winter.
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People may tell you that nest boxes must be put up in the springtime, when birds start to sing, mate, and build nests. Actually, nest boxes can be put up any time of year. The longer a nest box is part of your backyard habitat, the more likely birds are to accept and use it. Put a box up in the dead of winter, and it may well serve as a nightly roost for a downy woodpecker, nuthatch, chickadee, titmouse, or bluebird. The only clue you'll have is a few droppings, feathers, or regurgitated seeds in the bottom of the box, unless you’re lucky enough to see the birds enter the box at dusk. Don't be concerned about when you put your nest boxes up; just get them up!

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  • That doesn't address my concern about the bird houses. I'm on a tiny piece of property (40x100) so there's not much room to plant a heck of a lot or places birds could put nests once the bird houses are gone.
    by Linda DiPierro, Mon, 25 May 2020
  • Plant some native plants in your yard that will attract pollinators and produce berries and nuts. There should be a local society that has a list of recommended plants, shrubs, and trees.
    by Ladylanita, Mon, 25 May 2020
  • Same concerns here. See above post. For your situation I would consider planting a few native plants that will naturally produce berries and seeds that the birds in your area need to survive. Try planting some that will yield foods for all seasons.
    by Ladylanita, Mon, 25 May 2020
  • I've thought about this myself. One thing I considered doing is leaving behind some bird food and a gift card to my local wild bird store with a note asking the new homeowners to please continue feeding the birds. Don't know how well that work but it's worth a try.
    by Ladylanita, Mon, 25 May 2020
  • thanks for the article. I believe that I may have spotted my first hairy woodpecker this morning. we see the downy woodpecker often. it's small. the hairy woodpecker, when compared with the downy, is HUGE. also, the downy feeds at the feeder like most birds--standing upright. This bird, because of its size, hung from the feeder perch with most of it's body below the feeder--like the red belly woodpeckers that we see often. we live is strasburg va. is it possible that we saw a hairy woodpecker this morning?
    by PEretired, Sat, 23 May 2020