Feb 7, 2018 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, February 2018

Nest Boxes and Roost Boxes

Consider providing a winter songbird roosting box. Building one would be a fun winter's day project for you and your kids or grandkids.

While cavity nesters often use nest boxes as shelter during the winter, they’re not ideal for keeping warm during frigid weather. Good nest boxes have ventilation and drainage holes at the bottom that let in cold air; they seldom provide perches; and the entrance hole is often at the top, allowing warm air to escape. Consider providing a winter songbird roosting box. Building one would be a fun winter's day project for you and your kids or grandkids. Download instructions here »

Hang Nest Boxes Now

Many cavity-nesting birds select their nesting sites well before breeding season. Place new nesting boxes as early in the year as possible to improve odds of springtime occupancy. Bluebirds, chickadees, titmice, wrens, and woodpeckers will roost in suitable human-made boxes. Place a few twigs at the bottom, making it easier for the birds to perch.

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  • Has anyone heard of a Carolina wren opening doors? Our cat brought us a wren late last night, thought it was a goner but put it in our parakeet's old cage that has the sliding vertical doors. The wren gained strength, started to bop around the cage. We wanted to release it in the morning to make sure we could see it escape to safety. I put the cage in a quiet bathroom and went to bed. I woke up to the sound of fluttering wings. Sure enough the wren somehow got out, crept under the bathroom door and was trying to get out. I caught it with a light blanket and released it outside. It promptly flew away, very strong. I went back to the cage and am just dumbfounded and impressed, no way out unless it somehow pried the doors open. I was just relieved that it was ok. I can't believe it survived being carried around and batted about like a toy by the cat!Thoughts?
    by Beth Andries, Wed, 27 Sep 2017
  • cool
    by Luke Tansey, Sat, 16 Sep 2017
  • how can i get Caterpillar and other insects at home or buy them etc etc etc for my quails any suggestions earliest res thanks in advance
    by asif, Mon, 11 Sep 2017
  • I use Brita (filtered) water, cane sugar (hoping it's nonGMO). Heat water in pan, prep sugar in a glass, heat-proof measuring cup. 1 cup sugar, add hot water to make 2 cups total or so. Stir. Cool. Store in jar (glass or plastic) in fridge. Add to mix to feeder as needed, add more water to make ~3 parts water, ~1 part sugar. maybe more sugar as birds arrive I spring, more water in summer when it's hot. I make it concentrated 1 to 1 so it's easier store.
    by Debby Stark, Fri, 16 Jun 2017
  • Keep forgetting to do this. I like the roof idea!
    by AppalachiaTori, Wed, 24 May 2017