>>We have seen a bat in this also from time to time and
>>noticed that the sun warming the metal seems to be a
>>definite attraction for it, possibly the nightjar too.
>>Who needs nest boxes!?
>Nest boxes can be constructed using a wealth of
>different materials and are .... surely the metal gets
>a tad cold over night?
>John A. Gamblin
Yes, John Gamblin, you're quite correct, the metal home would certainly be a
bit chilly at times. Winter temps at Maryborough (Vic) can get down to -5 with
frosts, and occasionally light snow falls in winter.
However, perhaps this is not such a problem for a bat or a nightjar as they'd
be out hunting overnight anyway? This particular pipe-dwelling Owlet Nightjar
has a wide range of nestboxes available to it - two other ONJs at least are
ensconced in some of these (Though interestingly it is rare to see any in the
boxes purpose built, as per the Gould League nestbox book, for ONJs). So why
does this ONJ use a metal pipe?
I have a theory that the ONJ may prefer the pipe as it gets the benefit of the
suns warmth without having to bask out in the open. The other Owlet Nightjars
are often seen sitting in the sun at the entrance of whatever box they are
currently using. Twice now I've seen other birds attacking and chasing them
around as a result (Red Wattlebirds, Yellow Tufted Honeyeaters, etc.). The
'pipe' Owlet Nightjar doesn't risk that sort of assault. (Mind you, it might
just be that I haven't yet seen it basking, rather than it doesn't bask....)
Anyway, we wouldn't want to discourage anyone from installing as many nestboxes
as possible, though we would recommend a diverse range of boxes as the birds
etc can't read textbooks and often end up using something you would least
expect to find them in!
Some examples of these happy surprises:
Bat box - Sugar glider
Lorikeet Box - Owlet Nightjar
Old letterbox sat on a stump - Grey Shrike-thrush
Clefts in rubble in side of an old mine - ONJ
Metal pipe under tank stand - bat and ONJ
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