Using Nest Boxes to Support Native Central Oregon Wildlife and Avoid Wildlife Conflicts
Central Oregon is home to a diverse range of bird and mammal species, many of whom spend the early spring finding safe and suitable nesting sites. This is increasingly challenging for some native wildlife due to habitat loss and degradation. Nest boxes can provide an effective solution to this problem by providing a safe and secure place for these species to nest and raise their young. Providing good nesting sites for wildlife can also discourage unwanted nesting in man-made structures and support natural species interactions. In this blog post, we will discuss how and why to install nest boxes for native wildlife, as well as humane practices for living with wildlife in Central Oregon.
Benefits of Nest Boxes for Central Oregon Birds and Mammals
Nest boxes provide numerous benefits for Central Oregon’s native bird and mammal species, including:
- Safe and secure nesting sites – Nest boxes provide a safe and secure place for birds and mammals to nest and raise their young, protecting them from predators and harsh weather conditions.
- Increased breeding success – By providing suitable nesting sites, nest boxes can increase the breeding success of many species, helping to boost their populations. Boxes are also more secure than some nest sites, which can prevent young animals from falling out of the nest prematurely.
- Conservation – Nest boxes can help to conserve threatened and endangered species by providing them with additional nesting sites.
- Educational opportunities – Installing nest boxes can provide educational opportunities for children and adults to learn about the importance of wildlife conservation and the role that nest boxes play in their success.
- Prevent nesting in unwanted spots – Installing nest boxes can also help prevent unwanted nesting in buildings and other man-made structures, such as attics, barns, and eaves. By providing alternative nesting sites, we can redirect these species to safer and more appropriate locations, reducing the likelihood of damage and potential conflicts with humans.
Choosing a Nest Box
When choosing a nest box, it is important to select one that is suitable for the species you want to attract. Different species have different requirements when it comes to the size, shape, and location of their nesting sites. For example, some species prefer deep, narrow boxes, while others prefer open-fronted boxes. It is important to research the specific requirements of the species you are hoping to attract and choose a nest box that meets those requirements.
Installing Nest Boxes
Once you have chosen a suitable nest box, it is important to install it in a suitable location. The location will depend on the species you are hoping to attract. For example, some species prefer to nest in trees, while others prefer to nest on buildings or in other man-made structures. It is important to choose a location that is safe and secure, away from predators and other disturbances. You should also ensure that the box is facing in the correct direction to protect the nest from the elements.
Maintaining Nest Boxes
Once your nest boxes are installed, it is important to maintain them properly to ensure that they remain a suitable nesting site for your target species. This includes regular cleaning to prevent the build-up of parasites and diseases, as well as monitoring the boxes to check for any signs of damage or wear and tear. It is also important to ensure that the boxes are not overcrowded, as this can lead to increased competition and decreased breeding success.
Humane Practices for Living with Wildlife
Human-wildlife interactions are part of life in Central Oregon. Living successfully alongside wildlife is possible when we offer habitat features for wildlife and utilize humane exclusion methods. Exclusion involves sealing off the entry points to the building while providing alternative nesting sites, such as nest boxes. This can be a more humane solution than extermination, as it allows the animals to continue to live and breed in their natural habitats without causing damage to buildings or conflicts with humans.
Adding nest boxes can also prevent human-wildlife conflicts due to natural species interactions. Predators like owls and falcons can control populations of prey species such as mice and starlings, both known to nest in unwanted human spaces. Also, many native species, like the Northern flicker, are fiercely territorial and will defend their nesting sites against other birds and animals that may try to invade their space. By providing suitable nesting sites through the installation of nest boxes, you can encourage the natural species interactions of a successful ecosystem.
Nest boxes are a great way to support Central Oregon’s native bird and mammal species. By choosing suitable boxes, installing them in appropriate locations, and maintaining them properly, we can help to conserve many important species and ensure that they continue to thrive in our communities. In addition, providing alternative nesting sites through the installation of nest boxes can help prevent unwanted nesting in buildings and other man-made structures, reducing the likelihood of damage and potential conflicts with humans.
If you are inspired to install nest boxes near your home, Think Wild can offer support! We recommend the website NestWatch for species-specific plans and installation advice for bird nest boxes. To learn about building bat boxes, you can visit this National Wildlife Federation website. Think Wild also sells bird, bat, and squirrel boxes and offers installations and maintenance of these habitat features. We also offer humane wildlife exclusion services and can help you create your best plan for living successfully with wildlife. Learn more about our Humane Wildlife Services program here.