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Birds That Nest in Boxes

Updated on November 15, 2014
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Since the mid-1980s, Yvonne has maintained a registered NWF backyard wildlife habitat where a variety of birds, insects, and frogs abound.

Wildlife that Use Natural or Manmade Cavities

Many birds and animals build nests in natural cavities and they will also nest in man-made boxes. The most popular one that uses birdhouses is the Bluebird. But several others will readily use a house. They include Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Wrens, Swallows, Prothonotary Warblers, Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Great Crested Flycatchers, Owls and Wood Ducks.

Some animals like flying squirrels, tree squirrels, bats, bumblebees, tree frogs and others will also make homes in boxes. We have included photographs of the various cavity nesting birds and animals, as well as information about each. We hope you enjoy your visit here. And that it will encourage you to erect housing for our feathered friends.

Many of the photos seen here can be purchased in Naturegirl7's Zazzle Shop as print-on-demand products such as posters, cards, apparel, mugs, etc.

Wildlife Will Use Man-made Housing.

Bluebirds and Swallows

Many different species of cavity nesting feathered friends and animals (depending on where you live) will take advantage of the prime nesting sites that well built houses provide. The size of the hole and the dimensions of the box determines which bird or creature will use it. Below is a list of most of the creatures in Louisiana that nest in man made houses.

Bluebird Pair Spring Poster

Male and Female Eastern Bluebirds picking out a nest box.
Male and Female Eastern Bluebirds picking out a nest box. | Source

Cavity Nesters of North America

Buy Bluebird Pair Early Spring Posters by naturegirl7 on Zazzle

Eastern Bluebird - medium sized thrush with a bright blue back, reddish brown throat and breast with a white belly. Females are more blue gray.Mountain Bluebird - 7.25" long, male is solid blue, female is gray with pale blue wing and tail feathers. Breed in the Western part of North America.

Western Bluebird Poster


Western Bluebirds

Western Bluebird Poster by naturalphotos

Western Bluebird - 7" long, look very similar to Eastern Bluebird, except male has red extending to its back. Breed in the Western U.S. and just into Canada.Purple Martin - 8" long, male is uniformly bluish-black, female is bluish gray above and dingy gray-brown below. Breed mostly in Eastern North America, with some pockets in the west.Tree Swallow - 5.75" long, male has a blue-green back and white breast, female is gray-brown above and white below. Nests all over North America, except the lower southern states.Barn Swallow - 6.75" long, male and female have dark blue-black uppersides, male has more white underside, where female's is orange. Nests all over North America except extreme northern Canada.

Violet-Green Swallow Poster


Violet-green Swallows

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Violet-green Swallow - 5.25" long, males have multi-colored uppersides with emerald green backs, females are a drab greenish gray upper with white underside. Nests in the western United States.

Photograph Them Automatically

This birdcam will allow your to photograph feeders and houses automatically, day or night.

One of the best books about cavity nests that I have read. If you want to put up some houses, you need to read this book.

Chickadees and Titmice


Tufted Titmouse in Bird Bath

Black-capped Chickadee - 5.25" long, male and female are identical. Permanent resident in Northern North America.Carolina Chickadee - 4.75" long, male and female are identical. Permanent resident in the Southeastern United States.

Tufted Titmouse - 6.5" long, male and female are identical. Permanent resident of the Eastern United States.

Bird Song Identifier

An excellent song identification guide and cd from one of the tops in the field.

Carolina Wren Poster on Zazzle



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Carolina Wren - 5.5" long, male and female are identical. Permanent resident of the Eastern United States.House Wren - 4.75" long, male and female are identical. Nests in most of North America except the lower southern states.

Prothonotary Warbler Postage on Zazzle


Great Crested Flycatcher Fledging

Prothonotary Warblers and Flycatchers

Prothonotary Warbler - 5.5" long, male is golden yellow with blue-gray wings, female is similar, but more dull. Nests in the Eastern United States and Southern Canada.

Great Crested Flycatcher - 8.75" long, male and female are identical. Nests in the Eastern United States and southeastern Canada.Ash-throated Flycatcher - 8.5" long, male and female are identical. Nests in the Western United States.

Red-bellied Woodpecker Postage on Zazzle


Woodpeckers, Flickers and Nuthatches

Northern Flicker - 12.5" long, male and female are almost identical except male has a moustache. Nest all over North America.

Red Breasted Nuthatch Postage on Zazzle


Red-bellied Woodpecker - 9.25" long, male and female alike, except female has no red on top of head. Uses nest boxes infrequently, mostly as winter roosts.

Brown-headed Nuthatch - 4.5" long, male and female nearly identical. A southern bird that will nest in boxes and often has a third family member that helps.

Red-breasted Nuthatch - 4.5" long, male and female almost identical. It nests in the northern forests and winters in the milder regions of the central and eastern U.S.

White-breasted Nuthatch - 5.75" long, male and female alike. It is a permanent resident in most of the U.S. except the south.

Wood Duck Poster on Zazzle


Wood Ducks and Others

Buy Wood Duck Postcard by naturalphotos on Zazzle

Wood Duck - 18.5" long, male is very colorful with green, rusty red and gold. Female is brown with white around the eye. They readily nest in large houses placed near water.

Bufflehead Duck - 13.5" long, male and female similar. Breeds in Canada.Goldeneye Duck - 18.5" long, female is more brown. Breeds in Canada.

Hooded Merganser - 18" long, male is striking black and white and rust, female is shades of brown. Nests in Southern Canada and Northeastern U.S.

Kestrel Postcard on Zazzle


American Kestrel

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American Kestrel - 9" long, male has gray wings and is more colorful. Nests in most of North America except extreme southern LA and TX.

Screech Owl Postcard on Zazzle


Screech and Other Owls

Screech Owl - Both Eastern and Western are 8.5" long, male and female and Eastern and Western are almost identical with the Eastern being a little more brown. Ranges overlap some. They are permanent residents in almost the entire contiguous U.S.Northern

Saw-whet Owl - 8" long, male and female similar. Breeds in Canada and extreme northern U.S.

Barn Owl - 16" long, male and female identical. Permanent resident in much of North America.

Audubon NABB approved houses are made with the correct dimensions for bluebirds and other small cavity nesting birds. They also have a door for monitoring and cleaning.

Some of the Animals That Use Man-made Cavities

Flying Squirrel Postcard on Zazzle


Other Animals That Live in Boxes

Several other animals in our habitat like to nest in man made boxes. The most common is the flying squirrel. Since we have many of our houses in wooded habitat, we frequently encounter this small nocturnal squirrel with the wing-like folds.

Queen Bumblebees often use one of the boxes to make a nest in fall. She winters over in this nest with her honey pots. In spring she lays a few eggs that hatch into workers which go out to collect nectar and to build the population up. Bumblebees are native bees that aid in pollinating our fruits and vegetables.

Gray and Green Tree frogs seem to really like rough wood boxes and other man made buildings. We find one in a house almost every year.

Save Our Bees Wildflower on Zazzle


Buy Flying Squirrels and Save Our Bees Wildflower by naturegirl7 on Zazzle

Flying Squirrels

Other Squirrels







Tree Frogs

Some Cool Wildlife Stuff

Barn Owl Caring for Young Nest Cam

Prothonotary Warbler Male Bathing


Prothonotary Warblers

Buy Prothonotary Bath III by naturegirl7 on Zazzle

We are blessed with several pairs of this lovely, golden yellow bird. Numbers have decreased in many areas due to habitat destruction, but here in southeastern Louisiana, they come back each year to nest in the boxes that we put up as well as in natural cavities in the wetland areas. We are proud that our efforts are paying off for this lovely uncommon species.

Green Tree Frog in Mounting Pipe


Green Tree Frogs

Buy Green Tree Frog in Pipe by naturegirl7 on

Green Tree frogs seem to prefer the pipe that the house is mounted on. We often find them sleeping in pipes or clinging to plant stems. We are happy to see them, wherever they choose to live. This Louisiana state symbol is also a member of the natural pest control squad.

© 2011 Yvonne L B


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