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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  • I had a pair nesting for the first time this year at our farmstead in South Dakota. Boxes put out for Bluebirds which didn't come, but these were a very pleasant consolation.
    by fluffypeanutcat, Tue, 25 Sep 2018
  • This is a good point. While cleaning mine, I kinda got the impression the cheep cheeps were waiting on me since they started chirping as soon as I brought it outside again. I swear they are so smart. Within five minutes of filling the feeder up, they are there to feast.cheers Cheep cheeps!
    by Kimber timbers, Fri, 20 Jul 2018
  • Hahaha, I love the ending remark "that area will have already been well -fertilized!"I've noticed that there are more cheep cheeps right after I clean the bird feeder compared to how many there are right before it was cleaned...so cheep cheeps do like and appreciate a well maintained feeder and they are worth the effort. : )
    by Kimber timbers, Fri, 20 Jul 2018
  • The storm saying seems true so far. We had as party at our bird feeder right before our last storm... 6 at once but different cheeps cheeps would come and go so there were more than 6 for sure..and squirrels eating with the birds
    by Kimber timbers, Fri, 13 Jul 2018
  • I know and do clean my feeders both for seed and for hummingbird liquid. I have a vase full of different size brushes that are only for this purpose. I have friends however who NEVER clean their feeders or bird baths, and it’s gross! I am ringing this article and will have to give out to the few offenders I know. I can’t imagine looking at such mess and not cleaning it, but not everyone thinks resale. Part of responsible bird watching/loving is to make the time and take the effort to do this.
    by Carol, Tue, 10 Jul 2018