Thursday, November 20, 2008

Avian Nesting Box Installation Part 2: Where It's Dry

In the post, "Avian Nesting Box Installation Part 2: Where It's Wet", we witnessed a slick duck box installation in a pond setting. The same friend who requested that info. also wanted to know how to install nest box post on uplands (higher ground). While we are not experts like this guy:

...we've sunk a thing or two into the ground:

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: never dig, bore or drive holes into the ground unless you are certain that no underground utilities are present. If you are uncertain, don't do it. If you want to find out about underground utilities contact your local utility locate service. It's normally free and then the liability is transferred to somebody with attorneys on retainer.

So, going back to this guy...

...note that he simply used a steel fencepost and drove it into the ground using a section of heavy steel pipe with one end welded shut. You can see that post hole driver on the ground to his right. Then he bolted the box onto the post taking care to position it the proper height from the ground and facing the proper direction. Steel fence posts and drivers are available at farm stores such as Tractor Supply and Quality Farm & Fleet or any local store of that sort.

Other options for installing nest box posts on uplands include 4 inch x 4 inch wood posts or heavy duty steel highway sign posts. In either of these cases, it can work well to bore a hole with an auger:

...or post-hole digger:

You can then line the hole with a cardboard liner, drop in your post, and fill up with cement.

We used this method for putting up a huge sign but it would work the same for nest box posts on uplands.
One thing we have learned about installing conservation projects such as the above or bird nesting boxes is that it's very easy to get help. Lots of folks like to help with hands-on projects that have tangible results. One (of many) under-the-radar resource for help with your nest box post installations is your local soil scientist. Most states have professional soil scientists who make their living observing and documenting soils and are, therefore, quite familiar with the business end of an auger. Soil scientists rarely pass up an opportunity to investigate a new site and most are conservation advocates. In Indiana, check here. In Pennsylvania, check here. All other states, check here.

There is surely a wealth of additional information out there on the web so take our experience for what is was - it worked well for us in our scenarios - and integrate it into you own ideas, experience and research.

And don't forget to take some kids along because the only way we are going to have less of this:

...and more of this: if we have a lot more of this:

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