Pennsylvania Game News - April 2013 - 44
By Dan Schmidt
Forest County WCO
HELTER provides animals protection from weather and predators
and also offers a place to raise young
and rest. Shelter is one of the key elements in habitat and by providing just
a small sanctuary you may increase
the chances of an animal’s survival.
The Game Commission offers a couple
options for building nesting boxes for
birds and small mammals
First, log onto our website at www.
pgc.state.pa.us. If you want to build
your box from scratch, click on the
“Self Help” tab then click “Build Something for Wildlife.” There you’ll find a
list of free nest box plans for small birds,
owls, bats and waterfowl, and also tips
on hanging and protecting the boxes
If you don’t have all the wood and
tools needed then click on “General
Store” and click “Howard Nursery.”
Click “Wildlife Homes Order Form”
where you’ll find a list of pre-cut boxes.
Although there’s a fee on these boxes,
the kit includes pre-cut wood, screws
and nails to complete them.
After seeing what boxes are available, you should think about what species you have in your area. For instance,
I live in the middle of the woods and
wouldn’t expect to attract bluebirds to
my property, but there would be a fair
chance I could attract wood thrushes.
If you’re not familiar with the animal or
its habitat then go to the PGC website
and click the “Wildlife” tab and then
“Wildlife Notes” where you’ll find information on wildlife and their habitat
Remember, a box sitting in your
garage or basement collecting dust is
not much help to wildlife. So once it is
built, make sure you hang it according
to the directions and use a predator
guard as needed.
After your box is hung, don’t expect instant results. It may not attract
anything for a couple seasons. Give it
a year or two and if nothing finds it,
hang it at a new location.
A well-built box will last for years,
but routine maintenance is a must.
Check every once in a while for loose
nails or screws and damaged boards,
and fix as needed. Also, periodically
remove old nesting material. Wild
animals carry parasites and by removing the old material you help minimize
these pests. Check for water leaks and
caulk around cracks to keep the inside
dry. Good luck and have fun.