BUILDING A NEST BOX
FOR SMALL CAVITY NESTING BIRDS

      This nest box is most likely to be used by the following bird species in the Central Texas area: Eastern Bluebirds, Carolina Wrens, Bewick's Wrens, Black-crested Titmice, Carolina Chickadees, and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers.
     It is important to attach this box securely to a tree, post or building.  For the species listed above, place the box between six and ten feet from the ground.  Only the wrens will utilize a box that is hanging by a cord and allowed to swing freely.  When securing a box to a tree, it is important not to use wire that wraps around the tree.  As the tree grows the wire will become imbedded in the bark and may kill the tree.  Instead, use lag screws and washers or deck screws.  As the years pass, gradually unscrew to allow for the trees growth.
     The block of wood on the front of the box is a predator guard.  It will prevent squirrels from chewing around the entrance hole and enlarging it enough for the squirrel or other species to gain entry.  Additionally, it will prevent a raccoon or cat from reaching in and down to the nest inside.
     Should wasps take up residence in the nest box, remove the wasp nest and then spray the interior with a disinfectant like Lysol to dissuade them from rebuilding.  Take care not to be stung during the process.  Aerosol insecticide may be used on wasps outside of the box but should not be sprayed on the interior of the box.
     Once a nesting pair of birds has appropriated the box, you will be able to observe their activities as they shuttle construction material inside.  Most species of birds resent interference during their breeding period. Consequently, observations should be made from a distance.  If House Sparrows displace the native species, remove their nest.  This may have to be done repeatedly before they give up and move to another location.
     At the end of nesting season, (or between November and January), open the box and remove the nest.  This is a good time to check to make sure the box is secure and ready for the birds for the next year.

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