Fall/winter roosting in boxes?

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Sassy 4 weeks ago.

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  • #6022
    Julie
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    We’ve had a few days of rain, and yesterday I noticed chickadees checking out the Gilbertson boxes. They didn’t go in, but the adult blues showed up instantly at the sign of activity at the box. The blues haven’t been back since the fledging nearly a month ago. I haven’t cleaned out nests yet, b/c injured hand & had stitches, which are now out, so planning to clean out boxes finally.

    Question: Do any of you have experience with cavity nesters using the boxes during bad weather or at night as roosting spot? If so, do I need to do anything except remove old nest?

    Do you leave boxes up thru winter? I’m in PA, so we get a real winter with snow, etc. Thanks for clues!

    #6023
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Hi, Julie & welcome! Not much activity here on the forum as most everyone’s nesting season is over. But winter is exciting, also, to watch all of nature trying to survive. So, yes, many people have birds roost in their boxes during cold weather. I, personally, have not had my blues (which overwinter here) roost in their boxes, but I know some people have. Sure know that the HOSP (house sparrow) like to roost in them, also. Yes, you would need to clean out your boxes and just leave them up and see what happens. I do remember finding a dead downy woodpecker in my box one winter while trying to survive I guess, and did not make it. Leaving them up all winter is also good, as scouting sometimes begins as early as January and February.

    #6024
    Julie
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    Thanks, Carol! I appreciate your help! I’ve been searching online and not finding much on this roosting topic. Yesterday’s activity really surprised me. I haven’t decided yet whether or not to leave boxes out all winter. Been trapping HOSP, so slowly diminishing that issue (fingers crossed). But will watch for that. I haven’t seen them around the boxes, but I did put up fishing line X’s on box roofs and dangling pieces out front (weighed down with metal nuts), and the HOSP definitely do NOT like that, at least in this yard. Thank you so much!

    #6039
    Sassy
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    So glad you asked that question Julie, I was wondering the same thing. A few weeks ago I saw a flock of BB’s down at the farm a mile away from here and it gave me such a good feeling. We had our first frost here last Sunday and Monday morning I saw a male BB hanging on the outside of the box just like they do in the Spring, he was around for a while and when I looked out on Tues. morning I did not see him, but I had a limited time to check, as we were headed to camp. Just came back today and was going to ask the same question. I was hoping I would see them around this winter, but like you Julie I am in PA and it does get cold and snowy, so maybe they do use the box if it gets cold enough. Just seeing one made my day.
    Connie (PA)

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