MonitoringNestboxes by Roadsides

Nestboxes by Roadsides

From a monitoring standpoint, it can be very convenient to set up nestboxes along a roadside. It also enables passers-by to see and appreciate bluebirds, which may increase awareness or peak interest. I do have some boxes mounted on the edges of some country dirt roads, and often get questions about them.

However, there are a few issues to consider:

  • Safety: Shoulders may be narrow or nonexistent. Fast drivers may pose a hazard to monitors. I’ve lost several boxes (one of which was occupied) to drunk driving accidents. Poison ivy frequently grows in disturbed, sunny areas like roadsides.
  • Pesticide Exposure: Land owners or highway departments may clear roadsides and fence lines by burning, or spraying herbicides. This can pose a hazard to birds using a nestbox in the treated area.
  • Vandalism: Boxes in public, high access areas may be more likely to be vandalized. Many vandals are lazy and prefer to bash something near their car and then drive off. Boxes near road intersections, or dirt bike or ATV trails are most at risk. See more on preventing vandalism.
  • Flight: Parents frantically trying to feed hungry nestlings may be hit by cars as they approach of leave the nestbox. A juvenile birds’ first flight from a nestbox is often a wobbly one. If entrances face a busy road, the fledgling may not survive.

More Information:

Birds are the most vivid expression of life
– epitaph Roger Tory Peterson chose for his tombstone.


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