Bird-Friendly Communities

Nest Box Nesting Season - Reports from the field

Please welcome Audubon North Carolina’s Bird-Friendly Communities Coordinator Kim Brand. Launched in 2013, Audubon North Carolina’s Bird-Friendly Communities initiative is a partnership program involving more than 20 organizations with a vision for creating a more bird-friendly North Carolina. This vision statement guides the goals and projects of the group: “Bird-friendly communities give birds the opportunity to succeed by providing connected habitat dominated by native plants, minimizing threats posed by the built environment, and engaging people of all ages and backgrounds in stewardship of nature.”

Thank you to everyone who put up Brown-headed Nuthatch nest boxes in 2014! With three species that can fit into the 1-inch holes and one species that couldn’t – but really wanted to – there was plenty of drama during the 2014 nesting season. Here are some stories from nuthatch fans spanning the piedmont to the coastal plain.

Nuthatch at natural tree cavity by Michael Rahman of Winston-Salem.

Excluded Bluebirds

“We have had Bluebirds check out the new boxes, scowl at the 1" entry hole and go on.” - Orange County

“Bluebirds tried like crazy to get into the first "nut" house that I put up. A Carolina Chickadee patiently waited to get back in.” - Guilford County

Carolina Chickadee nest by Ann Walter-Fromson.

“Bluebirds "guarded" the box even though they could not get in. The bluebirds tried often. Brown-headed Nuthatches visited but did not attempt to nest. Chickadees looked but were also discouraged by the bluebirds.” - Guilford County

“Nuthatches successfully took over a bluebird house, and after evidence of eggs, we put a restrictor on the bluebird house.” - Mecklenburg County

Formidable House Wrens

“The wren took over the box quickly and aggressively defended it from the nuthatch. It was fun watching the wren figure out how to push nesting material into the hole. It only took a few attempts with the twig bumping into the box for the wren to learn to turn his head to insert the twig.” - Mecklenburg County

“Chickadees were in the nuthatch box I put up, but were booted out by the House Wrens.” - Guilford County

Eager Carolina Chickadees

“The chickadees checked out the one house they used before I had walked away with my tools. I straightened up after picking up my tools, and a chickadee had its head inside the house.” - Wake County

Birds who didn’t follow instructions

“The nuthatches ignored the two new nuthatch boxes I installed at the Audubon Natural Area, within sight of the bluebird box that they did use. Maybe next breeding season they will use the correct box.” - Greensboro

House Wren nest atop nuthatch nest Audubon Natural Area GSO by Ann Walter-Fromson.

“After I put up a nuthatch box in my backyard, a pair of nuthatches began to excavate a nest in a large snag. Although they worked at making the cavity for about a week, they did not nest there, and did not explore the nest box I put up. The Carolina Chickadees were quite happy with the box, and six babies fledged.” - Guilford

“We have the one nuthatch box and two bluebird boxes. However, everyone tries to use the one bluebird house, and we can't figure out why?” - New Hanover County

There is still time to make a home for a nuthatch in 2014. Nuthatches will be sticking around all winter-long and a nest box in your bird-friendly backyard is the perfect place to stay warm! Click here to learn more.

How you can help, right now