Archive for March 26th, 2010

Last spring, when I went looking for houses for Tree Swallows, I was only able to find boxes meant to accommodate Eastern Bluebirds. While the entrance hole, at 1 1/2 inches, is big enough for Tree Swallows, the interior of the box is rather small, with the floor measuring just 4 1/2 x 3 inches. Once again I vowed, as I do every year, that I would build a better box myself over the winter. Finally, this year I actually got organized and have turned out 7 Tree Swallow boxes.

I came across a simple bird box pattern last summer on a visit to the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary. At the little park store, I was lucky enough to meet one of the program coordinators who helps boy scouts and other participants build bird houses and I was able to purchase one of their ready-to-assemble houses. If you follow the link to my Sanctuary visit entry you will see one of their houses situated to the left of the park store door in the second photo. It was housing a Tree Swallow family at the time of my visit and the parents were busy, coming and going, keeping the youngsters fed, so I knew the box was Tree Swallow-approved.

The pattern is quite simple, and thus appropriate for someone with my modest carpentry skills. There are 6 pieces. The back, front and bottom are cut from 1 x 6 pine and the two sides and the roof are cut from 1 x 8 pine. I used rough-one-side lumber for a more natural interior. I read that Tree Swallow boxes should have a floor space of at least 5 inches square, and the interior measurement of these boxes is 5 1/2 inches square. I think the swallows and their brood should be comfortable. They went together quickly, and I was anxious to try one out. I carried a ladder out to last year’s Bluebird house and unscrewed it from the post. Then I mounted the new box.

I have another couple of houses to swap out with the new ones, but just did the one today because it was cool and blustery. The next nice day, I’ll change the others. I’ll also have to get additional poles to mount all the houses. Below, you can see the old box and a new box, side by side. I’m looking forward to the return of the swallows. I hope they will be as pleased with the new boxes as I am!

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