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Bird's nest with eggs.

Different bird species like to build their nests in different places. You’re most likely to find an American goldfinch building a nest in a shrub, a Baltimore oriole high in a tree and a killdeer laying its eggs in a small depression on the gravely ground.

While most birds’ nests are open to the elements, some species like to be tucked away in a sheltered cavity. These are our cavity nesters and in urban areas they struggle to find natural cavities because we often remove dead or dying trees – where these cavities are found. By adding a bird nesting box to your property, you can help provide nesting habitat to these birds.

Types of Birds You Can Support

Bird boxes come in different sizes and the birds that use them require specific types of habitats. Depending on your property and surrounding habitat, here are some birds you can support with a bird box:

If you are in a dense urban area with some tree canopy:

Open yard next to an open meadow, field or wetland:

Treed yard next to a forested area:

Treed yard next to a wetland or stormwater pond:

No matter the bird you’re attracting, you need to be sure to build or purchase a box that is the correct size – with a correct-sized hole – and to place it in an appropriate spot (some birds are picky!). Cornell’s Nest Watch program has great information for each species and plans to make your own bird box. CVC also has bird boxes available to purchase through our online store for residents in the watershed.

More to Consider

  • If you have common nest predators on your property like cats, squirrels and racoons, install a predator guard to keep the nest safe.
  • The current strain of Avian Influenza has been highly contagious for a couple of years now. If you have or live near backyard chickens or a farm with poultry, take a pass on installing a bird box this year.
  • If you notice chew marks at the hole of your nest box, install a metal plate to keep the size of the hole appropriate for the bird you are trying to attract and keep out unwanted guests.
  • Nest boxes can get messy, be sure to maintain and clean your boxes at the beginning of the season.

Some birds will be starting to look for nest sites soon, so now is a great time to add a nest box to your property. Alternatively, planting trees or shrubs is another great way to create homes for these birds as well.

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