Box choice concerns

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  tamsea 4 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #1427
    Rich KRich K
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    After my first successful nesting last year (single brood, all 5 fledged), I have moved on from the Woodlink box (it just leaked too much) and put a Gilbertson’s in it’s place. I also have a Cove DOWO box about 15 feet up on a tree, along with a mail slot entry box on a 5′ conduit. Billy and Susie returned around March 23rd. Not much activity other than flitting around the yard. The male HOSP’s began harrassing the male EABL (of course) at the Gilbertson. I solved that problem by moving my Repeating Sparrow Trap close by (very good success – at least 3 males a day have met their maker).
    My concern now is with the weather warming up the EABL’s are taking a real interest in ALL three boxes, but particularly the DOWO box. Susie seems to really like it even though Billy is trying to coax her into the Gilbertson.
    My concern with the DOWO box: it is quite deep as it is designed for DOWO’s. Will the fledglings be able to get out? Will they build the nest higher to the hole? Also, being on a tree really concerns me due to predators. Obviously for DOWO it needs to be on a tree.
    I wonder if I should take the DOWO down for now – although my concern is that there has been a pair of DOWO looking at the box also.
    Thoughts!?

    #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

    #1430
    Rich KRich K
    Participant
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    Thanks Fred!
    I think the problem may have solved itself. Shortly after I posted this – the female EABL has been busily entering the Gilbertson with beaks full of grasses. Looks like she has made her choice. Even better I caught another HOSP in my Van Ert’s this time!

    #1433
    tamsea
    Moderator
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    Sounds like everything worked out!

    Tammy

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