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1 December 2011 Eastern Bluebirds Choose Nest Boxes Based on Box Orientation
Kristen J. Navara, Erin M. Anderson
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Substantial declines in populations of Sialia sialis (Eastern Bluebird) have prompted a large movement throughout North America to construct human-made nest boxes to facilitate bluebird nesting. While large-scale habitat preferences of nesting bluebirds have been well-established, the factors that influence nest-box preference within relatively homogeneous habitats remain unclear. We tested the effects of vegetation height and nest-box orientation, comparing northeast-, southeast-, southwest-, and northwest-facing boxes, on nest-box occupancy in a population of Eastern Bluebirds in Athens, GA. Vegetation height surrounding nest boxes influenced nest-box preferences. Over 65% of boxes with little to no surrounding vegetation were occupied, as compared with only 21% of boxes surrounded by high vegetation. Nest-box orientation also influenced box selection. Over 68% of boxes facing northwest were occupied, compared with less than 34% of boxes facing all other directions. These findings differ from those in studies conducted at northern latitudes, suggesting that preference for box orientation may vary with latitude.

Kristen J. Navara and Erin M. Anderson "Eastern Bluebirds Choose Nest Boxes Based on Box Orientation," Southeastern Naturalist 10(4), 713-720, (1 December 2011).
Published: 1 December 2011

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