BasicsMonitoring Kit

Monitoring Kit

See Monitoring Nestboxes. A bluebird landlord should be prepared before opening the nestbox to check on a nesting, in order to deal with predators, parasites, wet nests, etc. The following items will come in handy: inspection mirro

    • Deep bucket (e.g., cat litter or spackle) or canvas bag to hold your supplies
    • Ziploc plastic bag (e.g., to dispose of used or blow fly infested nests or other problems liked dead birds) or leftover grocery bags
    • Spatula, metal putty knife, paint scraper, wood lath, or “hive” tool (to scrape out boxes or squash wasps)
    • Screwdriver if your boxes are screwed shut (make sure you have the right bit(s)
    • Telescoping car mechanics inspection mirror to look into nests that are high, without disturbing the contents (you still have to open the box) – (Available at Amazon – e.g., K-D Tools 2108 Telescoping Mirror – or Ace Hardware). Get a smaller one if you want to look in through the entrance hole – you may need to bounce the light from a flashlight off of these to see anything.
    • Some soft DRY grass/timothy hay (in case you need to make a replacement nest)
    • Bar of paraffin wax, Ivory (bar) soap, or Vaseline and paper towels, to coat the roof interior to keep paper wasps away
    • Insect repellent (for ticks, mosquitoes, black/deer flies, etc.)
    • Nestbox insert trap (to trap House Sparrows) and a mesh laundry bag (to remove birds)
    • Record keeping sheet/book and pencil or pen. It’s useful to keep a paper/spreadsheet that you can print out that tracks activity in each box, or one that at least shows last week’s record. Another option is a handheld tape recorder/PDA.
    • Roll of fishing line (to deter House Sparrows) and scissors
    • Spray bottle of 10% bleach solution (to spray mouse nests before removal, and to disinfect box interior after removing used nests – Chlorox Cleanup is pre-mixed.)
    • Hole restrictors (in case a hole has been enlarged, or you want to protect smaller species.)
    • Spare screws
    • Some folks monitoring nest cavities that are very high are using extendable painter’s poles with a fiber optic camera plugged into a tablet or small laptop, or a wireless camera. This allows them to monitor a nest without having to raise or lower the nesting box on each visit.
  • Optional items that might be useful:
    • Duct tape (for emergency repairs)
    • Gloves (for handling mouse nests, dead birds, etc.)
    • Camera
    • Step stool for high boxes
    • Spare nestbox in case you need to replace a damaged or destroyed one.

More Information:

Be Prepared…always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.
Robert Baden-Powell, the English soldier who founded the Boy Scouts, in his 1908 handbook, Scouting for Boys


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