Many birders enjoy having bird houses in their backyard to watch bird families as eggs are laid, chicks are hatched and fledglings are raised. It can be devastating, however, when tragedy befalls those feathered families, and hazards can come in many forms. Predators, poor climate and illness are just a few threats can all take a toll on backyard bird populations. These dozen tips for safer bird house designs can help turn the odds in favor of nesting birds’ survival by minimizing the greatest risks.
Although both species have been found in Alaska, only Starlings have become established, as yet. Starling nests have been recorded in central and southeastern Alaska, and the species is regularly observed in southcoastal and western Alaska. Starlings and House Sparrows will use nest boxes with entrance holes larger than 1ƽ inches in diameter. Keep a careful watch on your waterfowl, owl, woodpecker, and bluebird nest boxes to be sure that Starlings and House Sparrows do not invade them. (Please report any observation of Starlings or House Sparrows to Alaska Wildlife Observations, c/o University of Alaska Museum, 907 Yukon Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99701).