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It can be difficult for secondary cavity-nesting songbirds, such as Western Bluebirds and Tree Swallows, to find appropriate safe housing to raise their young. Competition from non-native species such as European Starlings and English House Sparrows, and the removal of dead and dying trees in Sonoma County have significantly reduced the number of potential nest sites and placed additional pressure on cavity-nesting species.
Offering artificial cavities in the form of nest boxes can be a useful resource for cavity-nesting songbirds. However, nest boxes can present substantial risks to the birds if the box is a poor design, installed incorrectly, or placed in an unsuitable location. Songbirds expend a tremendous amount of time, energy, and resources to rear their young. It is very important to take seriously the responsibility of offering nest boxes and ensure the highest probability of nesting success for the occupants. Here are some important guidelines to consider when offering a nest box to your songbird neighbors: