Nest Boxes for Wildlife

Hello Wild Side Readers,

Did you know how important dead trees are to wildlife? When a tree dies, it’s starts the next chapter in it’s life as habitat for insects and other invertebrates, fungi, lichen, moss, birds, mammals, and a host of other organisms. I recently gave (as in 1 hour ago) a webinar on the Important of Dead Wood to Wildlife. Check it out here if you have the chance. I strongly encourage any woodland owners and homeowners to think of ways to incorporate dead wood into your properties if attracting wildlife is one of the goals for your woods or backyard.

Nest boxes are a tool we can use to provide a feature of dead trees and live trees that wildlife go crazy for – cavities! Many species utilize cavities, from birds and mammals big and small, to reptiles and amphibians, native bees, and honeybees. Below are some slides I’ve put together on different nest box specification for wildlife – where to place them, tips on construction, and maintenance recommendations.

Nest Box Specifications for Species 

Here are additional resources on nest boxes, including plans for building your own! The great thing about nest boxes is that you don’t have to be a skilled wood worker to build a nest box – I speak from experience. Thankfully, the wildlife won’t care if they aren’t perfect. This makes this a great activity for kids, too. Monitoring the nest boxes also makes for a great activity. For some boxes, like those for bluebirds or tree swallow, the boxes are within reach and can easily be viewed. For those that are mounted higher, you might consider a wildlife/trail camera. These types of cameras are readily available and can be set up facing or even inside the nest box to get some great pics and footage of who is using the box.

ODNR, Division of Wildlife – Nest Box Plans

Bat House Plans


Marne Titchenell
Wildlife Program Specialist