Reply To: Box choice concerns

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#1429
River
Participant
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Hi Rich,

Downy Woodpeckers commonly use nestboxes to roost, but rarely do they nest in them. Here’s a quote from Bet on Sialis.org:

“I have never heard of a Downy Woodpecker NESTING in a nestbox. However, they often ROOST in nestboxes and artificial snags. In a nestbox, they often “excavate” the interior, leaving woodchips behind (and sometimes gray downy feathers from preening.) They may also try to enlarge the entrance hole. Former Downy roosting and nesting cavities may be used by secondary cavity nesters, or enlarged by larger woodpecker species.”

Last year a downy completely destroyed the entrance on one of my boxes after it was finished roosting in it. Then it just left.

If it were me, I would take that box down. Boxes mounted on tree trunks are fast food restaurants for predators. The safest way to mount a nestbox high in a tree is by hanging them on a limb at least five feet from the main trunk. Of course this requires special equipment, such as the nestbox hook and a painter’s pole for hanging and retrieving.

To answer your question on fledglings getting out of a deep box, Bluebird chicks would have no trouble. Easterns do have a tendency to build higher nests in deep boxes.

Fred
Waleska, GA
NestboxBuilder