NestboxesMounting Styles for Nestboxes - Pros & Cons DRAFT

Mounting Styles for Nestboxes – Pros & Cons DRAFT

One important and somewhat controversial issue is how to mount a nestbox.
Common options are discussed below, along with their pros and cons.

Mounting Style & Designer Description Pros & Cons
EMT + rebar

DESIGNER: Gilbertson

1/2″ five-foot conduit slips onto 1/2″ rebar/re-rod (drive below frost line – e.g., 2 to 3 feet), held in place by conduit connector/ collar (bottom screw needs to be longer – e.g., 1/2 inch length and perhaps #8 and perhaps 32 threads per inc). 3/4″ conduit should be used for heavier boxes. PROS: Easy to pound rebar into ground, readily adjust height or direction of box. 2 box mountings from 2 sets of 10′ rebar and EMT.

CONS: Box may turn around in the wind (use duct tape) unless you want it to turn away from prevailing wind. Box easily lifted off and stolen if not connected to conduit with bolt or U-clamps. Not strong enough where livestock rub against. 1/2″ conduit good only for lightweight boxes, and boxes that are below 10′

EMT T Post Mount box offset from the “T” post by putting two 90 degree bends in EMT pipe. Mount box on “T” post with the first bend at about five feet on the “T” post and away from the fence about 16.”  Make another 90 degree bend upwards and mount the box with bolts at eye level.
Chain link

DESIGNER: Gilbertson

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Fence CONS: Snakes or mammalian predators can easily access box. Livestock may rub against it. 4×4 plastic pipe *over*
a smaller diameter pipe or post. Square pipe, not round.
Conduit Conduit / awning pipe. 1″ OD (outer diameter) cut into 7-foot lengths with a 1/4-inch hole drilled through the pipe or conduit 1″ from the top. Drive in the ground 18″ deep. Put a hole clamp on the pipe just an inch below where the nestbox will reach, drop a 2-foot length of 4-inch ID (inner diameter) thin-wall PVC to which you have attached (with a small screw) a cap drilled with a 1 1/4″ hole, then attach the nestbox with a 1/4″ x 3 1/2″ bolt with locking washer at the top of the nestbox, and a pipe clamp at the bottom.
Hanging (rod)



Rod: uses a telescoping pool pole (similar to those available at Lowe’s for $20), a Purvis Nestbox with a 9 gauge wire, 24″ long, in a question mark shape, and Purvis lifter – see plans PROS: Out of reach of most human vandalism.  Above most sprinkler systems and errant golf balls.  Cooler under tree canopy, diffusion of rain and wind. More visually protected.  Tree cover provides protection against diving hawks.  Harder for cats to access. no need for ground posts.  Greater flexibility of box placement.  Nearby branches offer perching /guarding spots for adults.

CONS: Bluebirds may not prefer a box that swings. Harder to monitor.


Chalet Quick Mount

DESIGNER: Gary Springer

Based loosely on Gary Springer’s mounting method for his Chalets:  3/4″ EMT (conduit) telescoping into 1″ EMT base.

Screw a setscrew connector ( easier to use than the compression fitting) into a hole in 5/4″ thick wood (the 3/4″ fitting screws really firmly into a Forschner bit-drilled 1″ hole; 1″ fitting goes into 1-1/4″ hole). Then attach setscrew connector to the top of the EMT.

A drill press ca make very precise holes.

Different adhesives: waterproof wood glue, a couple of plumber’s expoxies, Seal All, ALex, etc.

PROS: Quick and easy way to mount the box on the pole.

CONS: connector wants to make its way out of the wood after a while.

Metal Post
Metal T-Post Drill two small holes in the back of box near the top and two near the bottom, then use coat hanger wire, (better still, use copper or galvanized) and twist tightly with pliers. post-driver a couple of strong whacks will force 6′ metal fence post in ground. Before attaching box in field consider sliding a 3.5′ piece of PVC pipe OVER metal post, then attach 2 sets of wires to hooks on post above PVC pipe.

Assumption: the pipe is threaded on both ends.

2) Go to Home Depot etc. and buy a metal flange. Screw one end of the flange onto the pipe, attach the other end, which is like a flat metal plate with 4 holes, to the bottom of the box with screws. Ensure threading of the flange fits the threading on the pipe.

3) Could also use a flange for the bottom of the pipe, attaching the metal plate to a board for stability when you dig a hole and stick it in.

Save money by cutting a piece of 2×4 or 2×6, as long as the box is wide, bore a pipe sized hole almost all the way through and fasten it to the bottom of the house.

cheaper than conduit
2″ PVC CONS: Predators crawl up?
Telescoping pole


Cost of 3/4 inch galvanized steel pipe is about triple that of the 3/4 inch EMT electrical conduit pipe. The former sways a little less. Use the full 10 foot length instead of cutting the pole in half before pounding it into the ground. The galvanized steel pipe should also last many more years than the EMT.


PROS: Avoids accidents on ladders etc.

CONS: telescoping mounts are inevitably more time-consuming to monitor. Need 1″ EMT

Note: Some find “Emad” telescoping poles more time-consuming to mount and monitor, and may not be as predator-proof as a low-mounted box with a stovepipe guard (although they might work better against cats, coupled with a stovepipe guard), plus there’s the danger that a volunteer will put it back up facing 180 degrees from its intended orientation, which has happened!

21 foot Pipe

This pipe comes in 21 foot lengths. Drill a hole one foot down from the top of the pipe that goes in the ground and place a 5/16″ bolt in the hole to set the top or telescoping pipe down on. Raise up the top pipe just a little and pull out the bolt and let the top pipe slide down inside the bottom pipe. Paint a line where the top pipe is normally at rest in the bottom pipe so that you don’t pull it all the way out while raising it back up!

If you want a lighter pole the 3/4″ normally slips inside the 1″. By packing rocks around the pipe set in the ground and also by setting this pipe on TOP of a rock or brick it will keep them from sinking with a heavy box. Set the bottom pole in a gallon milk jug or can filled with fresh cement then carry the pipe, and cement block to the site AFTER the cement hardens. Brace the pole plumb while the cement is setting. By planting this block of cement in the ground it is nearly impossible for the average person to “steal” this set up!

PROS:  Hard to steal
Tree PROS: Some birds may prefer (titmice, nuthatch?)

CONS: Allows access to climbing predators including snakes and mammals. Bluebirds may avoid.

Utility pole CONS: Must obtain permission from utility!
Wooden Posts CONS: Will eventually rot i the ground.  Easier for a raccoon or cat to climb.

NOTE: Boxes made of TREX lumber are very heavy, and may require sturdier steel water pipe poles anchored in cement.

More Information:

The story of the bluebird’s trials is a poignant one, beautiful enough to make you weep.
– Andre Dion, The Return of the Bluebird, 1981


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