Pole Bird Houses and Predators
How to Protect Your Pole Bird Houses from Predators
Nesting boxes are attractive to birds but also to predators looking for an easy meal or shelter. Cats, squirrels, rats and other birds may all be keen to gain access. If you really want to help the birds that you attract to your garden, you need to do everything you can to protect your bird houses from unwelcome
Locating your Pole Bird Houses
Think carefully about where to mount your pole bird houses. They are best situated away from bushes and tree branches which provide cover for predators. Branches also make it much easier for other animals to reach the bird boxes. It can be beneficial to trim back large bushes and shrubs if you are forced to position nesting boxes close to them. Site your boxes at a distance from any feeders and food sources which attract larger birds and squirrels. You should also position nesting boxes well away from rubbish bins and compost heaps which could be
appealing to rats.
Position your bird houses at least 2 metres above the ground. If you don’t have a suitable fixing point then mount them on bird house poles. It is also a good idea to locate food sources on bird feeder poles.
Perches, Hole Restrictors and Tube Entrances
Garden birds do not need a perch on their nesting boxes and these only serve to make life easier for predators. If your nesting boxes have perches then remove them. Predators will pack and scratch at the holes in bird houses to make them larger. You can prevent this by fitting a hole restrictor. This is a metal plate which fits around the hole. You could also consider modifying the box by fitting a tube entrance. Most birds don’t mind these and many potential predators don’t possess the reach to stretch through the tube and into the box.
Choose a nesting box with a generous roof that extends comfortably beyond the font panel of the box. Not only does this protect the box from the rain, it will also make it much harder for predators visiting the roof to reach the entrance of the nesting box.
If your nesting box is mounted on bird house pole or close to a tree branch then you can prevent predators from reaching it by fitting a baffle. Baffles are simple devices which squirrels and cats cannot negotiate. There are a variety of different styles and these inexpensive accessories usually do the trick.
Most garden birds do not have a strong sense of taste. You can use chilli powder, pepper sprays and other natural products with powerful aromas to deter predators. These can be spread over the bird house poles, bird house entrances and any surrounding bushes and trees.
It is impossible to provide complete protection from predators and interlopers but it is well worth doing what you can. Garden birds need safe havens in which to nest and will return to bird houses in which they have felt secure.