[U of A University of Arkansas
Division of Agriculture]
[Dr. Becky McPeake] Do you own a few acres? Do you want to do something for wildlife?
[Pictures of woodpeckers in a next cavity in a tree] If you lack nest cavities on your property, hereís a suggestion for you.
[Picture of a nesting box with a nest and eggs.] Consider building or purchasing some nest boxes and putting them in strategic
locations on your property.
[Picture of a bluebird perched on a nesting box.] Eastern bluebirds are a prime example of the species that have benefited from
nest boxes. [Picture of a bird perched on a bird house.] Other species include wrens, wood ducks, woodpeckers, maybe even a
tree squirrel or raccoon.
[Dr. Becky McPeake and Caroll Guffey] Joining us today is Caroll Guffey, Extension forester. Iím really glad
Caroll is here today because I can barely hammer a nail. And Caroll is going to
talk to us about how to build these nest boxes. Caroll, what do we need to do?
[Caroll Guffey holds a bluebird box] Ok, what we are going to do Becky, today, is make a bluebird box.
And this is the basic design and to make it accessible to bluebirds we need to
use an inch-and-a-half hole. [Guffey holds up a spade bit and a five foot long
one by six board.] You can vary the size hole to vary the species of
bird that use it. And what we do, we start out with just a five foot long, one
by six piece of lumber. And Iíve actually shown you, Iíve drawn off the
different cuts weíll make on this board and Iíve already put the holes in it.
You probably wouldnít do that to start with, but just to show how it works Iíve
got that done ahead of time. We make all our cuts and we end up with these six
boards that weíll put together to make this box.
[Dr. Becky McPeake] And which one of these boards, which one is the front and back, the
bottom? Can you show us?
[Caroll Guffey] This is going to be the back of the board. Of course this is the
front with the entrance hole. This will be the roof. And then we have the two
sides and then the bottom. And I would suggest waiting on the bottom because
based on the thickness of the material and it varies a little bit, I would make
all these cuts except for the bottom, and then I would put them all together.
This is the two sides as they fit together. And then of course the roof goes
there. And this would be the point where you would actually measure the opening
to make sure that your bottom actually fits because, again, based on the
thickness of the material, it may not be exactly the measurements we have in the
fact sheet. [Guffey places the pieces together and then measures the bottom with
a tape measure.]
[Dr. Becky McPeake] Well Caroll, what types of wood would you recommend for building a
[Guffey] Becky, we have a lot of different options on the wood. The one
option we would not want to use would be treated lumber, because thatís not good
for the baby birds. We can use western red cedar, this is an example of that. [Guffey
shows a bluebird box made of western red cedar.] We
can use eastern red cedar, which is common in Arkansas. [Guffey shows a bluebird
box made of eastern red cedar.] Both of those will last
for a long time without any type of treatment, but they are a little more
difficult to work with. They split a little.
[Dr. Becky McPeake] Yeah, this one has a splitting problem right here.
[Caroll Guffey] So what I have here is just our pine lumber. Southern yellow pine
lumber. [Guffey shows a bluebird box made of pine.] Itís very easy to work with, very common, itís going to last quite a bit
of time, but if you really want it to last longer, you can paint it. Paint it a
light color because of the temperatures we have here in Arkansas.
[Dr. Becky McPeake] Thatís for sure, it gets really, really hot here in Arkansas, but
donít paint the insides.
[Caroll Guffey] Thatís right, just paint the outside.
[Dr. Becky McPeake] Just the outside.
[Caroll Guffey] Again, the paint is really more for the people, itís not for the
birds, because they really donít care one way or the other.
[Dr. Becky McPeake] Can we use the same dimensions that you designed for that, just
expand them a little bit, and make something like a wood duck box? [McPeake
shows a wood duck box.]
[Caroll Guffey] This is a similar design. It uses, itís bigger material and again
for the wood duck, we have a much bigger hole than we do for a small bluebird.
[Dr. Becky McPeake] Ok, well how would you recommend that we place these out once we
get our nest box built?
[Caroll Guffey] If you think you want to nail it to a tree, thatís probably not the
best option, but you can nail it to a tree as long as you donít use steel or
iron nails. Use aluminum nails. Nailing it to the tree, again, may not be the
best option because it kind of damages the tree for one thing. It also, itís
more or less permanent. Itís hard to move it if you need to.
[Dr. Becky McPeake] Thatís true. And predators, they love to get up and down trees and
get into those nest boxes and eat the eggs and nestlings, so if you can put it
on a pole, you could actually put a predator control device around it and keep
[Caroll Guffey] Thatís right. Thatís a much better option, a pole or a fence post
with some type of predator preventer.
[McPeake] Well, thank you so much Caroll for visiting with us today. Check
out our website for more information on wildlife and wildlife habitat.
[Narrator] To learn more about this and other topics, contact your county
extension agent and visit uaex.edu [U of A University of Arkansas Division of
Agriculture, various pictures of people]