Roosting Boxes may appear similar to bird houses, but are not intended for nest building. A roosting box provides shelter for birds to escape from bad weather, high winds and predators.
The openings on roosting boxes are at the bottom of the box, differing from bird houses which have openings at the top. This prevents rising heat loss. They also include perches to accommodate more birds. Adding wood chips to the bottom of the box will add more insulation.
Ideally, roosting boxes should be 6 to 15 feet from the ground. You can place a box on a tree or mount it on a pole. If you choose to use a pole, you may want to consider adding a baffle to stop mice or squirrels from claiming the box for themselves. Placing the box in a sheltered area of your yard is best. The opening should be facing south to avoid prevailing winds from blowing into the entrance of the box. If there is an area in your yard that gets the late afternoon sun, the sun could warm the back of the box allowing it to retain the heat for a longer period of time.
One of my favorites is our convertible roosting box. It can be used as a bird house in the spring and summer, and a winter roost in the fall and winter. During the spring and summer the opening will be at the top of the box. The inside of the door is scored to allow the hatchlings access to the opening for feeding. In the fall, take the door off and reverse it so the opening is at the bottom. Simply add the perches to the interior along with the wood chips and your’re all set for winter. Make sure that you clean the box before converting to winter use, doing the same in the spring to prepare for nesting.
We also have smaller woven roosting pockets. These can be placed in shrubs and bushes. They don’t hold as many birds as the boxes, so you may want to use more than one of these.
Birds that will use roosting boxes or pockets include chickadees, nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, titmice and bluebirds. While roosting boxes are more popular in the colder months, they can provide shelter for birds in every season.
Roosting Pockets are beneficial to songbirds during the winter months. They provide much refuge from harsh storms, wind, freezing rain, heavy snow and the bitter cold.
Author -Jane Paradis
Editor – Daniel Oommen