Photo © Keith Williams
Photo © Sharon Edmiston

Nest Box Occupancy & Habitat Quality

The state motto of California is “Eureka! I have found it!” Perhaps that’s what a Western Bluebird thinks when it finds that perfect nest box in a good habitat. New research from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, conducted in California’s oak woodlands, reveals that five species of cavity-nesting birds—Western Bluebird, House Wren, Oak Titmouse, Ash-throated Flycatcher, and Violet-green Swallow—divvy up the nesting habitat according to their specific vegetation preferences and, in the process, improve nesting success.

The researchers found that nest box occupancy rates were a good indicator of nesting success, which has management implications for the declining Oak Titmouse population. This work furthers our understanding of habitat preferences and the role that humans can play in the distribution of nest boxes. Read a brief summary of the research here.