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All About Birdhouses

Dealing with Predators

What to do about Predators Although nest boxes provide nesting opportunities for many native birds, they also can make easy targets for predators. Common predators of nests in nest boxes include raccoons, cats, snakes, and squirrels. Here are some tips to help you thwart these common nest box predators. The most passive way to prevent […]

Nest Box Placement

Need help placing your boxes? You’ve come to the right place! When to Place Boxes Make sure that your boxes are installed well before the breeding season begins. Don’t be discouraged if birds don’t begin nesting in them immediately; sometimes it takes time for the birds to discover them. In the south, place your nest […]


Do Bird-Friendly Yards Attract Predators?

Replacing your lawn with bird-friendly shrubs and trees? New research suggests it won't attract more nest predators.

Predator removal may not increase nesting success

You may have experienced the disappointment that accompanies a nest failure. When a predator raids a nest that you monitor, it is common to wonder if there is anything that you can do to eliminate this threat.

How to Protect Tree-Mounted Nest Boxes from Snakes

Most predator guards that prevent climbing predators are built for nest boxes that are mounted on poles. New research supports the effectiveness of a simple DIY predator guard meant to deter snakes from tree-mounted boxes.

From Our Blog: Snakes On a Box!

Does a visit from a snake cause nest abandonment? Maybe not, unless the nest is actually depredated.

Predator Guards Carry Their Weight

It took just four years to answer the decades-old question of "Are predator guards on nest boxes actually helpful?" With the power of citizen science, NestWatchers helped us use the best science available in a national study of cavity-nesting birds.

The Sweet Life of Barn Owls

Down in the sugarcane fields of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA), Barn Owls are just beginning their fall nesting attempts.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I discourage predators from accessing my nest boxes?

The best way to guard against predators is to mount the box on a smooth, slippery pole and to install a predator guard or baffle on that pole. Galvanized pipe or PVC pipe are both slippery, smooth surfaces that most predators will have difficulty climbing. Trees, wooden fence posts, and fence posts intended for wire […]

Where can I download construction plans for predator guards?

Recent research using NestWatch data suggests that, on average, nests in boxes with predator guards had success rates 6.7% higher than nests in boxes without guards. And while all types of guards were correlated with improved nesting success, birds nesting in boxes with cone-type baffles, stovepipe baffles, or entrance hole extenders (also called “wooden block hole […]

Insects are in my box! What should I do?

In most cases, nothing. Ants are commonly found in nest boxes, but if you specifically have fire ants (most common in the southern US) then we have tips to discourage them on our Dealing with Predators page. Mites can also be found in nest boxes. Mites are ectoparasites, like some insects, ticks, and other small […]

Why did my nest fail?

Nests can fail for a variety of reasons. Typically, unfavorable environmental conditions, chemical use, predator presence, and limits on food availability are the most common causes of nest mortality. Our Nest Box Troubleshooting Guide may also be helpful in determining a reason. Additionally: Poor environmental conditions can cause nest failure. Though most nest boxes have […]

Where can I find construction plans to build nest boxes?

Where can I find construction plans to build nest boxes? In our Right Bird, Right House tool, you’ll be able to sort by your region and local habitat to find a list of birds that have been known to nest in a human-made structure in your area. Most species listed are cavity-nesting birds, but we’ve […]

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Cornell Lab of Ornithology