Building Nuthatch Houses
By the Environmental Management System
Editor’s note: The Grapevine has previously discussed the decreasing nuthatch population due to bluebirds; here’s an update on how what you can do to help increase viable nuthatch housing.
Despite the cold and wet weather at the end of 2014, the 12 homes that make up the “Hatches in the Pines” Phase One nuthatch community were completed on schedule. Audubon North Carolina launched a statewide effort to meet a goal of putting up 10,000 Brown-headed Nuthatch nest boxes during 2014 to help stem this bird’s habit decline, and NIEHSers are doing their part to help meet that goal.
Additional locations on the NIEHS campus are currently being sited and surveyed for Phase Two of the “Hatches in the Pines” nuthatch birdhouse community.
For additional information on nuthatch habitat and nesting requirements; for further information, please check out the following websites and factsheets:
- Audubon NC Bird Field Guide
- Brown-Headed Nuthatches website by BioKids and the University of Michigan
- History of the Brown-headed Nuthatch website by Birdzilla
Building Nuthatch Boxes
Nuthatch specific boxes are available at local wild bird supply retailers or from the local chapter of the NC Audubon Society.
Reducing the opening diameter of existing bluebird boxes will allow the nuthatch, titmouse and chickadee to nest, but will keep out wrens, starlings, bluebirds, and similar competing birds. Any bird nest box that is suitable for bluebirds can be retrofitted with a 1-inch opening protector. These small metal protectors can be found at local wild bird stores for about $2.50.
If you’re industrious, you can build your own nest box from scratch. Lumber can be purchased from home improvement stores, and construction with exterior or deck screws will allow for disassembly should repairs or modifications be needed. For the DIYer interested in additional information, please visit:
- Nesting Boxes for the Brown-headed Nuthatch from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources
- Wild Ones Handbook from the Environmental Protection Agency