Log Nest Boxes and Greenfinches
Hi John. I really don't think a wild Greenfinch needs any help with a
nest. Unlike canaries and domesticated Zebra finches, they have a full
set of the right instincts, and are better than you at picking a site
where they won't be molested. They are inclined to desert the nest if
looked at much, so I would leave them alone to manage matters for
The trouble with hollowing out logs to make nestboxes is that they
are very heavy. They would need very careful mounting if they are not
to fall on someone's head and get you sued. Sometimes I have seen a
natural hollow log jammed and fastened into a suitable fork or crotch in
a large tree as a nestbox.
One bird which is said to like only a hollow branch or treetrunk as
nestbox is the Southern Boobook. I am not an owl expert so I would see
if you can find someone on this list. Or see if you can find something
in print - Beruldsen's book aforementioned, David Fleay's
'Nightwatchmen of Bush and Plain'(out of print but findable in libraries
and s/h bookshops, David Hollands' 'Birds of the Night' and the relevant
bit in HANZAB.
One thing to try, if you succeed with your trunk-hollowing exercise,
would be mounting them horizontal (with an open end) as well as
vertical. Kookaburras for instance can only use a nesthole where the
floor is level with the entrance - so young can squirt their droppings
out. Unlike parrots, they wont climb down into a hole. Always assuming
you want resident Kookas - I find them very murderous in their approach
to smaller birds' chicks. (Since my brother took to feeding them and the
Butcherbirds there are no small birds in his backyard).
Are you sure you really want to cut up a supply of Black Bean for
nestboxes? It's valuable stuff! I'd find a chap with a wood lathe and
get a nice set of bowls, plates, or dishes turned up! I'm afraid Red Gum
would be very heavy indeed, even when hollowed.
I really think the best thing would be to read through the local
birdlist critically and try to tailor nestboxes to particular species.
Cockatoos and parrots like deep vertical boxes. I'm sure RAOU(Birds
Australia) will send a leaflet, and Bird Observers Club of Australia
used to have one too.
Reverting to sparrows' nests - definitely undersized soccerball in
shape, not the Aus.Rules type of the Redbrowed Finch. I would remove any
House Sparrows' nests as soon as they start to build, whenever possible.
They are unfair competition for natives and not averse to robbing nests
of both materials and young. Not sure if Tree Sparrows are as
Best wishes, Anthea Fleming in Ivanhoe - where it's been raining.
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