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Bird Boxes
Environment Building

Other Support

There are plenty of other things you can do to support wild bird populations from your backyard. Two great options are providing bird boxes and environment building. Offering natural environment options, and shelter like bird boxes, can attract and help birds even without offering feed.

Bird Boxes 

Habitat loss is a very real threat to birds even in western PA. Bird boxes can be a big help to cavity-nesting birds that might have trouble finding a nesting site. Most birds that are cavity nesters are primarily insect eaters. They may not normally be attracted to a bird feeder or garden outside a home. Having a nest box in your backyard can be a good way to attract different species into your local area, increasing biodiversity. There are plenty of places to purchase bird boxes, or you can easily construct your own from untreated wood. There are many different designs for bird boxes that are all appropriate for different birds. 

Bluebirds and Boxes

One of Avian Connection's "Spotlight Species", the eastern bluebird, has a great need for bird boxes in western PA. Because of the invasive European starlings and English sparrows, the eastern bluebird now has severe competition for nesting/breeding sites. At points in the past, bluebirds were losing the battle to these species. Without human intervention and nest boxes, it is likely it would be extirpated (pushed out of an area it once inhabited) from Pennsylvania all together.


A bird box that specifically facilitates a bluebird has a few distinct features. Placement is important as bluebirds mainly desire a more open area away from trees. A bird box placed on a post 4-6 feet off the ground in direct sunlight will satisfy bluebirds the most. The box should also not be too close to brush or buildings as this may attract nesting competitors. The box itself should have a circular entrance only 1 1/4 inches in diameter. This prevents most nesting competitors and predators from entering. If you have set up a bird box as noted above and are still having trouble with nesting competitors, a common solution is to staple a stiff, u-shaped piece of wire over the top of the hole to make it into more of a crescent shape. Bluebirds are more willing so squeeze into the entry than other species. 


Bluebird Box

Environment Building

The healthiest options for birds are always their natural food sources and habitats. Environment building gives you the ability to offer these options in your own backyard. Use the left and right arrows to scroll through the gallery below to learn more.

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